Any form of energy that does not involve fossil fuels is typically considered to be an alternative energy resource. There are several alternative energy examples that are being used today to power homes, vehicles, or provide heating and cooling resources.
1. Solar Energy.
This alternative energy resource comes directly from the sun. It may involve light, heat, or a combination of both. The advantage of solar energy is that it is freely abundant everywhere on the planet. The disadvantage is that to obtain it, current technologies still require the use of fossil fuels to create the products that collect the energy.
2. Wind Energy.
Since the days of the US Western Expansion, wind energy has been used for many specific tasks. From pumping water to grinding grain, today’s large wind turbines still use the same principles that were employed more than a century ago. The only difference is that a modern turbine’s specific task to generate electricity and then feed that energy into our current distribution grid.
3. Geothermal Energy.
This is another highly abundant alternative energy example. Instead of being taking from above, however, it comes from below our feet. The heat of the planet is an energy resource that not only provides a natural home-heating resource, but it can also be converted into energy that can be used for a wide variety of needs.
If you’ve seen a dam, then there’s a good chance you’ve seen this alternative energy example. Hydropower is most commonly obtained through the use of water and gravity. As water passes through a dam or similar structure, it causes turbines to be powered which, in turn, generate electricity. In some countries, more than 50% of their power comes from hydropower resources. This makes it one of the most common energy alternatives that can be found today.
To generate power, we typically burn something and use the combustion to generate the energy needed. This is how power plants that use fossil fuels operate. Biomass operates on the same principles, but it burns natural materials instead of something like coal to generate electricity. The benefit of biomass is that when sustainable growth methods are used, it can be a carbon neutral venture.
6. Tidal Power.
Some communities have started harnessing the power of the tides as a way to generate electricity. It’s like the more traditional hydropower system, except the turbines are powered by collectors which monitor tidal movements. As the water moves in and out, we get the energy we need. Because this is only effective for coastal communities, the applications as an alternative energy resource are somewhat limited.
7. Wave Power.
Tides come and go, but waves always keep coming. Some regions have extremely powerful surf conditions, which allows for the potential of another alternative energy resource to be developed. It also operates much like hydropower, except the movement of each wave helps to generate energy.
There are many ways that we can generate power which do not involve the burning of fossil fuels. These options are cleaner, affordable, and nearly as effective for power generation thanks to modern technologies. A new era has begun: the era of alternative energy.
Crystal Lombardo is a contributing editor for Vision Launch. Crystal is a seasoned writer and researcher with over 10 years of experience. She has been an editor of three popular blogs that each have had over 500,000 monthly readers.