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Renewable energy is an energy source that does not run out. For example energy from the sun, wind, waters and waves. More precisely solar energy, wind power, hydroelectric power and wave power. Renewable energy is different from fossil fuel energy, such as coal, oil and nuclear power. Since these types are non-renewable, meaning they can run out.

Bioenergy (for example wood) can also be considered a renewable source because new biomass is produced naturally. However, if the biomass is taken down faster than it is produced, it is no longer fully renewable.

Benefits of renewable energy

As mentioned, the most obvious benefit to renewable energy is that it is renewable. It works with the natural elements of the earth and takes advantage of already existing energy. Another known benefit of renewables are that they produce almost no emissions. However, this is not entirely true. For example, renewable energy sources also produce emissions when they are being manufactured. As new production tends to release GHG emissions. Yet, renewables are still much better for the climate than fossil fuel sources. As fossil fuel sources are both non-renewable and emit huge amounts of GHG. More so, the energy produced by for example a solar panel, can at best compensate for the emissions from it’s manufacturing.

Wind power is a type of renewable energy.

Disadvantages of renewable energy

There are some more disadvantages to renewable energy, apart from the one mentioned above. For example, renewable source have geographical limitations. As wind turbines, hydroelectric plants and solar panels requiere well thought-out locations to work at their best. More so, the climate plays a role. For instance, it is harder to rely on solar energy in northern nations with less sunlight.

Another negative aspect of renewable sources has to do with the expression -Not In My Back Yard – NIMBY. It is a common expression in relation to wind power, as it tends to disturb neighbouring areas. In fact, most people are in favour of wind power, but prefer if they are placed far away.

Other important and relevant disadvantages are the impact that hydroelectric plants, wind turbines and solar panels have on nature. Hydropower plats prevent, among other things, the natural flow of water in rivers. More so, they can cause major disturbances to nearby ecosystems. Among other things, they can disturb the migration route of certain fish species, such as salmon. An effect that can be mitigated with better environmental protection laws. Wind turbines on the other hand, affects bird life and tend to scare off other wildlife as well. Finally, the production of solar panels has a negative affect on natural areas as they are produced from minerals. These minerals are extracted from mines.

 


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The road to clean energy sources

The world is moving to a fossil free future, were most energy sources are to be replaced with renewable energy. For example, it was agreed that fossil fuels are to be “phased down” at COP26 in 2021.  More so, there is an EU target calling for a minimum of 32 % energy from renewable sources by 2030 at the latest. More so, nations such as Sweden has set a target that 100 % of the energy needs to come from renewable sources by 2040.