Renewable energy is the energy which comes from natural resources such as the sun, wind, rain and geothermal heat. All of these resources are constantly replenished which means they will most likely never run out. Renewable energy is used as an eco-friendly alternative to regular electricity, heating, rural energy and motor fuels. Using renewable energy has plenty of advantages and benefits. Technologies related to renewable energy include wind power, solar power, biomass, hydroelectricity and bio fuels for transportation. Renewable energy abound in large geographical areas, unlike regular energy sources which come in limited supply. In the latest report of REN21 in 2016, renewables have contributed to 19.2% of global energy consumption and 23.7% to energy generation. Here are some of the most interesting Renewable Energy Facts to help you understand it better.
1. Renewable energy was first used in 200 BC when Europeans started to harness water energy to power mills. The use of the water wheel has resulted into many industrial processes such as sawing wood, crushing grain and shaping iron.
2. Albert Einstein received a Nobel Prize in 1921 for his ground breaking contributions regarding solar energy. He was the first person to discover the Law of Photoelectric Effect. If he hadn’t discovered solar energy, we wouldn’t have modern day solar panels today.
3. Costa Rica received 99% of their electricity from renewable energy in 2015. The country is rich in renewable resources and they have a wide variety to choose from depending on their needs. Costa Rica hopes to become completely carbon neutral by 2021.
4. In 1882, the first commercial hydroelectric plant in the world began its operations. Located in Wisconsin, the Vulcan street plant has generated 12.5 kilowatts which is enough power for a home and some paper mills. In 1999, the first hydroelectric station was operated in Balgonie, Saskatchewan, Canada.
5. Denmark has managed to produce 42% of the country’s electricity using only wind turbines in 2015. It is the highest figure of renewable energy usage recorded worldwide.
6. In 2014, every 2 minutes in 30 seconds in the United States, there was a brand new solar energy system installed. Because of this, the United States became the fifth country on the solar panel PV capacity global rankings.
7. The world’s biggest capacity wind turbine is called the Vestas V164. It has a capacity of 8MW which is large enough to supply power to an average of 7,500 homes. Each of the Vestas V164’s blades span 80 meters long.
8. Amidst popular belief that solar panels will not be able to function when the sky is cloudy or when it’s raining, it actually can.
9. By 2020, the United Kingdom aims to make 15% of its energy consumption come from solely renewable sources. In a report made in 2014, the United Kingdom is on track with their targets.
10. In the short span of 14.5 seconds, the sun is able to provide the Earth with as much energy as the entire human race uses in a single day. This is an exciting fact which makes people wonder how amazing it would be if we could harness the sun’s full potential and use it to create renewable energy.