We are committed to using renewable energy sources and working toward increasing their use all the time. Renewable energy can come from the sun, wind, biomass, earth and water.
The sun has produced energy (solar radiation) for billions of years. This energy can be converted into other forms of energy, such as heat and electricity.
When converted to thermal (or heat) energy, solar energy can be used to heat water, spaces or other fluids.
Wind, which is caused by the uneven heating of the Earth’s surface by the sun, can be used to generate electricity. A wind turbine is used to collect the wind’s kinetic energy from its blades and converts the motion of the blades to electricity with an electric generator.
Biomass is organic material from plants or animals. When considering the process of photosynthesis, biomass essentially contains stored energy from the sun. When burned, the chemical energy from the biomass is converted to heat and can be converted to electricity.
Biomass is renewable because new crops can be grown in a relatively short period of time and they will always create waste. Examples of biomass fuels are wood, crops, manure, and garbage.
Geothermal energy is generated from the heat from within the earth. The heat can be moved to heat buildings or generate electricity. Heat from the earth is constantly replenished and thus renewable. The three main uses of geothermal energy are: direct use for heating systems, electricity generation power plants and geothermal heat pumps.
Hydropower is energy produced from moving water. Since hydropower relies on the earth’s water cycle to replenish the water supply, hydropower is considered renewable.
Two main sources of hydropower are the natural run of rivers and storage systems such as a dam. Mechanical energy is harnessed from the moving water from these sources and can turn an electric generation turbine to produce electricity. Ocean tides and waves can also be a source of energy, however they are not as prevalent as the use of dams and rivers.