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Renewable energy is a buzzword these days, and for good reason too. As the climate changes, the world is looking for alternative ways to produce energy – which is the main contributor to global greenhouse emissions. 

But what are the different types of renewable energy and how exactly do they work?

Here we explain in simple terms the various types of renewable energy sources; how they work to produce sustainable energy solutions for households, businesses, and firms.

Solar Energy 

solar energy

Solar energy is one of the most important and useful types of renewable energy sources available. The sun is always shining somewhere and isn’t exactly going anywhere soon. This makes harnessing energy from the sun extremely useful – especially in climates like Australia where the sun shines more often than not. 

Solar energy was first used by ancient populations (as early as the 7th Century B.C) to start fires by reflecting the sun off shiny objects onto flammable materials. These days solar energy is collected through solar panels made from a thin layer of silicon enclosed in a glass casing. When particles of light hit the silicon it creates an electric charge that is converted into usable or storable clean power for households, businesses, and more. 

Wind Energy 

wind energy

Wind power is another type of renewable energy that is going in popularity – especially where the climate and landscape are conducive to its production. Australia’s geography makes it an ideal place to harness wind energy, and you don’t have to drive far to start seeing them popping up. 

Wind power is harnessed through mechanical means via aerodynamic force from rotor blades which act like a plane’s propellers. The rotor connects to a generator (either directly or via a series of gears) which then generates power. Naturally the stronger the wind – the faster the blades turn – generating more electricity. 

In Australia wind energy was one of the leading sources of clean energy, supplying almost 10% of Australia’s total energy. 

Biomass Energy

biomass energy

Biomass energy or bioenergy is renewable power generated from waste. It’s a type of renewable energy that’s often overlooked when considering the major sources of renewable power – but is by no means less effective. The process works by breaking down waste products through various processes such as combustion, gasification, biorefining, or even fermentation. This process generates electricity, biofuels, and even useful byproducts such as sustainable bitumen or concrete

Biomass energy is a growing industry within Australia and boasts high potential for investment and growth – especially in the area of biofuels which may become critical in balancing out dependence on fossil fuels.

Hydroelectric Power

hydroelectric-power-energy

Hydroelectric power is another type of renewable energy that produces power for millions around the globe. Australia currently has 100 hydroelectric power plants which supply 7800 megawatts (MW) of clean energy every year.

Hydroelectricity is generated by channelling water flows (like waterfalls or rivers) through water turbines. The pressure and movement of the water spin the turbines creating an electrical current. Even though Australia is one of the driest continents, ongoing success with hydroelectricity shows the versatility of renewable energy sources.

Tidal Energy 

tidal energy

Tidal energy harnesses the power from the oceans and tides. It’s a great example of a renewable energy resource because tides are consistent and would continue to operate regardless of whether energy was being produced or not. In short, they’re the ideal renewable energy source. Electricity generation from tidal power is still in its early phases but also showing some promising signs.

Tidal power works by exposing a water turbine to a powerful tidal system. This turbine spins in the same way that a wind turbine would, and is enhanced by gears that spin a generator that produces electricity.

Australia is in a unique position to further explore and innovate in the field of tidal energy – especially given the continent is surrounded by some of the world’s strongest tides.

Geothermal Power 

geothermal-energy

Geothermal energy is another important energy source that is yet to be tapped into for commercial use. Put simply, geothermal energy is derived from heat stored within the earth. Electricity can be generated with water temperatures as low as 100 degrees, and heat from the earth’s crust promises to be far hotter than that.

The interesting thing about geothermal power is that it can have multiple uses aside from electricity generation. As a heating source for households, swimming pools, and other facilities – geothermal energy has the potential to become part of Australia’s power supply in the future.

Hydrogen Energy

hydrogen energy

One of the most exciting new clean energy resource sectors is hydrogen power. This energy resource is generated by combining hydrogen and oxygen compounds which then generate electricity, water, and heat. As it only relies on two basic building blocks of life – there is plenty in supply the capabilities of harvesting it are only becoming more efficient.

Australia is an ideal place to both produce and benefit clean hydrogen power – and investment is already taking off with over 100 million dollars in funds being allocated to growing the hydrogen energy potential. 

Advance your renewable energy capacity

As technologies advance, different types of renewable energy are being harnessed in more efficient and cost-effective ways. The net result is a win-win for suppliers, firms, and households. Here at Vermeer WA & NT, you can count on us to deliver the solutions your business needs to grow its renewable energy capacity. Whether that’s through equipment supply and management, our fleet of solar pile drivers for sale or rent is standing by to assist with large or medium solar farm installations. 

 

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