Two Alternative & Renewable Energy Sources

Wind Solar Energy

Two Alternative & Renewable Energy Sources

As the world consumes and produces more energy we must cut back our us fossil fuels, and begin using alternative energy to reduce our reliance on fossil fuels

Currently we have 4 sources of renewable and alternative energy that we are able to produce: wind generation, solar energy, hydro power, and geothermal energy. Here we will discuss the most common two.

Wind Power

Wind as a source of power has been around for ages. Previous generations used wind in many different ways like, pump water, sailing ships, flour mils, saw mills and more. but at the start of the industrial and economic revolution, wind mills have improved and wind turbines were developed to supply electricity.

Lots of us learned about the old windmills in The Netherlands which were used to pump water or mill grain. The technology has improved developed hugely since the past decade. In this day and age wind turbines manage to generate thousands of megawatts of power, and once used on small scale projects, wind generation to create power will substitute standard energy sources, contributing to many households to get off the grid.

Solar Energy

Solar is the one of the most abundant form of energy available, we really should harness this great energy resource. We can use it on a large scale or a small scale. Technology is constantly improving and becoming more affordable. Households have many choices in regards Solar Energy. It can generate electricity, heat, be used for cooking etc.

Both electricity and heating systems powered by the sun are cost-effective, great for the environment and planet. Solar Installations require hardly any maintenance and after the initial investment have no running cost saving you on bills. Solar cookers are a great way of cooking food. They are affordable, portable and easy to use. It is a great solution used in many African countries where one has no power available.

Countries close to achieving 100% renewable energy

With advances and investments in renewable energy made every day, some countries have become almost non reliant on fossil fuels (except cars, planes etc).

Costa Rica

The Costa Rican Electricity Institute (ICE) said that around 98.1 per cent of the country’s electricity came from green sources. consisting of a combination of geothermal, hydro electric, wind turbines, solar panels and biomass.

Iceland

Due to Iceland’s geology they can cover most if not all their energy needs from Renewable Sources. Almost 100 percent of electricity production is covered by Renewable Energy, with about 75 percent coming from hydro power and 25 percent from geothermal power. Geothermal power is also used for heating homes and buildings

Bonaire

Bonaire is a small country of the Venezuelan coast. It used to rely on diesel generators to provide electricity to its population and tourist. That all changed in 2004 when their main diesel generator burned down. The country now is now almost achieving 100% renewable energy. In peak times wind energy can provide 90% of the electricity needs of the small Island, they are backed up by Biodiesel Generators. The biodiesel. They plan to produce biodiesel from the abundance of algae.

Lesotho

The small mountainous country which is enclosed by South Africa achieves close to 100% of their electricity requirements through the Lesotho Highlands Water Project. This project was established to provide water to South Africa, with the added benefit to cover almost all of Lesotho’s electricity needs.

Paraguay

Paraquay has one of the world’s largest dams (Itaipu dam), Which provides almost 90% of Paraguay’s electricity and about 20% of Brazil’s electricity requirements.

With future developments and decreasing prices, we will see more countries improving their percentage of renewable energy. Countries like Germany, Denmark and Spain are investing heavily in Renewable Energy

Sustainable Energy Sources Compared

Sustainable Energy does not always equal to Renewable Energy, but Renewable Energy is a Sustainable Energy Source.

What are the different forms of sustainable energy and how do they compare? Sustainable Energy is a good alternative to fossil available today. New sources of Sustainable Energy Sources are being developed for the future. How reliable are the different forms of Sustainable Energy Resources and will they be sustainable in the future to form part of the energy mix? Below we will discus the different forms of Sustainable Energy and their advantages.

Solar Power

Solar power is generated through photo voltaic (PV) solar panels. Solar panels convert the sunlight into electricity. It is a viable solution in many countries and Solar Power systems are currently installed in many countries. New technology makes the the solar panels more effective than older systems. Currently about 16% of the sunlight gets converted into electricity. With new developments this should greatly improve and they will become more affordable. The improvement in efficiency and lowered costs means that solar power will play a greater part in our energy mix. There are alos some interesting installations where Solar Power is installed on top of parking bays. Not only creates this energy, but it keeps the cars parked underneat protected from heat and other elements.

Solar Heating

Solar Heating is the conversion of sunlight into renewable energy for water heating using a solar thermal collector, or used to cook food with a solar oven. Solar heating is a cost effective method to save electricity. When you invest in Solar Heating you will use less electricity and you can get away with a smaller Solar Power (PV) System. Solar heating can also be used to heat up pools.

A solar oven uses the power of the sun to cook food. By directing the sunlight into a solar oven you can raise the temperature of a box (Solar Oven) in order to make the temperature high enough to cook food. This is very sustainable solution in areas where there is little access to other energy resources like in many parts of Africa.

Solar Tubes & Skylights

Many houses have areas like passages which have not enough windows and tend to be dark. Instead of switching on a light why not install skylight or Solar tube to bring natural daylight into your dark room or passage. Some Solar Tubes have a natural ventilation system installed as well, which is great for areas like a bathroom with no windows.

As you can see there are many ways we can harness the energy of the sun.

Wind Power

Wind power has been harnessed for centurions, in the form of commercial shipping, windmills to mill grain and pump water. Nowadays wind power is being used to generate electricity through wind turbines and to pump water with wind pumps. Wind energy is one of the fastest growing sources of electricity in the world and it’s not hard to see why. Wind energy does not pollute or contaminate the surrounding area on which they are built. One wind turbine is capable of generating power for over 500 households. The only environmental impact is the dead of birds caught in a wind turbine and the visual pollution.

Hydro power

Hydro power is energy that is generated by the movement of water. Energy gets generated through water falling or flowing down a river and channeling it through a turbine.

Flowing water was used in ancient water mills to power various machines, from saws to cranes, mills, lifts and more.

Most hydro power requires the building of Dams & Reservoirs they can have an adverse affect on the environment and displace many people. A lot of research into the environmental impact has to happen before one can go ahead and built a dam.

One lesser know Hydro Power source is energy produced from the movement of ocean waters, through tidal, waves and others. This is often refereed to as marine power.

Geothermal Energy

Geothermal energy is generated by using or drilling into the thermal energy or heat generated at the Earth’s core. This energy can easily be harvested at tectonic plates and by drilling deep into the ground, then pumping in a heat transfer fluid such as water or steam.

Some countries using geothermal energy are New Zealand, Iceland, China, Japan, United States, Italy, Turkey, France & China.

Solar Energy or Wind Energy

Solar Energy or Wind Energy which is the best? This really depends on your location. Sometimes solar energy is the best solution and sometimes wind energy is the best solution. At certain locations both will be an excellent solution to your energy and electricity needs.

Solar Energy

The sun which produces solar energy through several means like solar heating, photo voltaic which produces electricity and solar cooking. The sun rays can be used in many ways and are probably one of the most available and reliable sources of solar energy. There is not a single place on earth which would not receive at least some sun (which means solar energy a day). Solar energy can be implemented on a big scale or a small scale. It is easy for households to produce solar energy by installing solar heating or installing solar panels.

Of course in certain places in the world solar energy is more abundant then other places, but this did not stop Germany to become one of the leading countries in solar energy. Germany is not the most favorable country to produce solar energy but they are leading the world. Talk about defying the odds.

Wind Energy

Unless Solar Energy, wind energy is less viable. Wind Energy is mainly available at coastal areas, but it can be available 24 hours a day. Solar energy is not available 24 hours a day. Wind energy is also more difficult to implement on a smaller scale as it will require construction of huge structures. But there are countries which have successfully implemented wind power or wind energy. One of those countries is Denmark Wind Energy vs Solar Energy which even managed to produce more wind energy in one day as what was required.

Conclusion Solar Energy vs Wind Energy

Solar Energy & Wind Energy can both be very viable and can complement each other to power our earth now and in the future

Denmark’s wind farms generated 140% of the country’s electricity needs yesterday

A very windy day broke a record in Denmark on the 9th of July. They produced an astonishingly 40% more power through their wind farms as their daily needs. This feat was accomplished due to an unusually windy day.

Energy not gone to waste.

The extra energy didn’t go to waste. It was exported to Germany, Norway, and Sweden via interconnections between the countries electricity grids.

Denmark is at the forefront of clean and renewable energy and they proven that on the 9th of July 2015.

Source: http://qz.com/450737/denmarks-wind-farms-generated-140-of-the-countrys-electricity-needs-yesterday/

Some fun facts about renewable energy.

Renewable energy is becoming more mainstream now humanity realizes that fossils fuels and nuclear are not the energy of the future. Here are some interesting facts about renewable energy.

  • Subsidies to fossil fuels worldwide outweigh renewable energy support by a ratio of 12:1
  • By 2050 Renewable energy has the potential to meet 95% of our energy demands by 2050.
  • Clean energy creates three times more jobs than fossil fuels.
  • All the sunlight reaching our planet in an hour is enough to meet our annual demand
  • Since 2014, the European country of Denmark has been generating around 40% of its electricity needs from wind power
  • When fully completed the Gansu Wind Farm in China may become the world’s biggest collective windfarm
  • South Africa receives more than twice as much sunshine than Germany, where over 15 percent of the national electricity supply comes from renewable sources. South Africa is not even near that amount as of 2015
  • At the end of 2014 approximately 600 MW of wind and 1 000 MW of PV (Solar Power) are already online. (Excluding small scale developments for own use)

The potential for renewable energy in South Africa is enormous and as a country we should actively promote and invest in this technology.

Load Shedding

Load Shedding is in full swing at the moment. It will be a fact that South Africans will have to live with & endure. Load Shedding will be here for many years. Load Shedding occurs when demand is greater than capacity to generate electricity. To avoid a total blackout of the power grid Eskom has to implement Load Shedding.

Load Shedding is implemented by switching of the power to certain areas for a certain time. There are several levels of Load Shedding. Load Shedding increases with the severity of the electricity demand & supply.

The following stages of Load Shedding are currently in place

  • Stage 1: Generation shortfall of up to 1 000 MW
  • Stage 2: Generation shortfall of up to 2 000 MW
  • Stage 3: Generation shortfall of up to 4 000 MW

How to reduce the effects of Load Shedding.

Load Shedding is an inconvenience to everybody in South Africa, from people to businesses. Some ways you can work around the effects are

  • Plan your schedule around publicized Load Shedding schedules.
  • Implement Renewable Energy Sources like Solar Power/Solar Heating or Wind Energy.
  • Use a generator (not environmental friendly, but for long periods of Load Shedding a viable but expensive option).
  • Start cooking and boiling water on LPG/Gas or a wood fire.
  • Have a battery/invert-er backup in place.

How to help Eskom by reducing your electricity consumption

One of the best ways to help Eskom & the rest of South Africa if everybody plays their part in reducing their electricity consumption. There are some quick and easy ways to accomplish this.

  • Switch off all equipment/lights which are not needed. (TV’s, Computers, Geysers Etc)
  • Increase the temperature of your air-conditioner or switch it off altogether.
  • Start preparing meals on a Gas stove or make a braai.
  • Change to energy efficient equipment & lights
  •  Become self sufficient by investing in renewable energy and get of the grid or become grid tied.

In periods like this we South Africans have to stand together to avoid a total blackout of our electricity supply which can take weeks to resolve.

Microsoft is going green

As part of an effort to become carbon neutral, Microsoft Corp. has entered a 20-year deal to buy power from a new wind farm in Texas, the first time the tech giant is directly purchasing electricity from a specific source.  Microsoft said it will buy all of the energy the wind farm generates from RES Americas’ 110-megawatt Keechi wind project, which is under development near Jacksboro, about 70 miles (113 km) northwest of Fort Worth. RES Americas is a unit of privately held, UK-based renewable energy developer RES Ltd.

Data Centres are power hungry and every effort to source this energy on a sustainable level should be encouraged.

Microsoft also is looking for ways to make data-storage systems and servers more efficient, to develop software and other products that could make “green” buildings more efficient and improve and expand a setup that allows servers to operate in warmer temperatures, giving some data centers the ability to use natural air and water for cooling instead of traditional, power-hungry air conditioning units, Janous said.

The power of wind

Wind power or wind energy is getting more popular as an renewable energy as an alternative to fossil fuel and one of the best known of the renewable energy sources. Wind Power has been in use for hundred of years to power the wind mills in Holland and to power the sailing boats of yesteryear. To generate electricity through the use of wind power requires wind turbines. Wind turbine generators do little to harm the environment and are clean and preferable source of energy compared to fossil fuels. The only disadvantage of wind power is that wind power cannot be used everywhere. To make effective use of wind power and use turbines to generate wind power you would need an average wind speed of at least 21 kilometers per hour. Obviously those wind speeds are not found everywhere. You will find that most large scale wind power farms can be found near coastal areas.

Wind Power in South Africa

There are currently no large scale wind farms operational in South Africa, though a number of wind farms are in the initial planning stages. Most of these wind power farms are earmarked for locations along the windy Eastern Cape coastline. Eskom has constructed one small scale prototype wind farm at Klipheuwel in the Western Cape and another demonstrator site is near Darling with phase 1 completed.

Wind Power the future of renewable energy

Wind is a sustainable fuel source free of pollutants of any kind and its free energy can be harnessed without causing any damage to the environment. The energy used to manufacture and erect a wind turbine is recovered in the first 3 to 6 months of operation. At the end of a wind turbine’s lifetime, typically 30+ years, it can be removed, leaving behind no lasting legacy.

Cost effectiveness of wind power

Although the initial investment in a wind power farm is higher than a traditional fossil powered system, with no ongoing fuel cost the price of generating electricity works out cheaper over the lifetime of the investment with the added benefit of being kinder to the environment.

Renewable Energy for the home

The trend toward homes that are powered by alternative energy sources, ranging from wind turbines and solar collection cells to hydrogen fuel cells and biomass gases, is one that needs grow and to continue into the 21st century and beyond.

There is a great need of becoming more energy independent, and not having to rely on the supplying of fossil fuels. Not only are Fossil Fuels adding to global warming but future generations might not have the benefit of oil,coal and natural gas due to the fact that current and past generations have depleted the reserves.

But even beyond this factor, we as individuals need to get “off the grid” and also stop having to be so reliant on government-lobbying giant  corporations and who, while they are not really involved in any covert conspiracy, nevertheless have a stranglehold on people when it comes to powering their homes

Renewable Energy for the home

Fossil Fuel Power