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The advantages and disadvantages of renewable energy

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benefits of renewable energy essay

As we move toward a zero-carbon future, wind power, geothermal energy, solar energy, hydropower, tidal energy, hydrogen, and other renewable technologies are becoming widely popular energy sources worldwide. Countries, corporations, and individuals are adopting clean energy for several great benefits, from reduced air pollution to financial savings. In this article, we’ll dive into some of the advantages and disadvantages of renewable energy .

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Here are some of the most important pros and cons of using clean, renewable energy:

Advantages of renewable energy

Renewable energy has multiple advantages over fossil fuels. Here are some of the top benefits of using an alternative energy source:

Renewable energy won’t run out.

Renewable energy has lower maintenance requirements.

Renewables save money.

Renewable energy has numerous environmental benefits.

Renewables lower reliance on foreign energy sources.

Renewable energy leads to cleaner water and air.

Renewable energy creates jobs.

Renewable energy can cut down on waste.

1. Renewable energy won’t run out

Renewable energy technologies use resources straight from the environment to generate power. These energy sources include sunshine, wind, tides, and biomass. Renewable resources won’t run out, which cannot be said for many types of fossil fuels – as we use fossil fuel resources, they will be increasingly difficult to obtain, likely driving up both the cost and environmental impact of extraction.

2. Maintenance requirements are lower for renewable energy

Renewable energy systems usually require less overall maintenance than generators that use traditional fuel sources. This is because generating technology like solar panels and wind turbines either have few or no moving parts and don’t rely on flammable, combustible fuel sources to operate. Fewer maintenance requirements translate to more time and money saved.

3. Renewables save money

Using renewable energy can help you save money long term. Not only will you save on maintenance costs but also on operating costs. You don't have to pay to refuel when you’re using a technology that generates power from the sun, wind, steam, or natural processes. The amount of money you will save using renewable energy can vary depending on several factors, including the technology itself. In most cases, transitioning to renewable energy means anywhere from hundreds to thousands of dollars in savings—find out how much you can save by switching to solar energy .

4. Renewable energy has numerous environmental benefits

Renewable energy generation sources lead to lower greenhouse gas emissions than traditional fuel sources like natural gas. This means a smaller carbon footprint and an overall positive impact on the natural environment . During the combustion process, fossil fuels emit high amounts of greenhouse gases, which have been proven to exacerbate climate change, which in turn causes rising global temperatures and higher frequencies of extreme weather events.

The use of fossil fuels emits greenhouse gases and other harmful pollutants that lead to respiratory and cardiac health issues . With renewable energy, you’re helping decrease these pollutants' prevalence and contributing to a healthier atmosphere.

5. Renewables lower reliance on foreign energy sources

With renewable energy technologies, you can produce energy locally. The higher the amount of our energy use is renewable, the less we’ll rely on imported energy, and the more we’ll contribute to U.S. energy independence. Renewable energy sources can help us minimize the geo-political risks associated with fossil fuels, from trade disputes to political instability to pricing wars, which are often rooted in access to oil.

6. Renewable energy leads to cleaner water and air

When you burn fossil fuels to generate electricity, it contaminates the air and water we use. For example, coal power stations release high volumes of carbon dioxide, nitrous oxide, and harmful toxins like mercury, lead, and sulfur dioxide. Health problems from ingesting these elements can be dangerous and even fatal. Investing in renewable energy is a great way to work against these risks, as renewables have a far lower negative impact on our air and water. 

The use of fossil fuels emits greenhouse gases and other harmful pollutants that lead to respiratory and cardiac health issues . With renewable energy, you’re helping decrease these pollutants' prevalence and contributing to a healthier environment.

7. Renewable energy creates new jobs 

While the U.S. shifts its focus to combat global warming, we’re setting ambitious carbon-reduction goals that require labor to get the job done. Today, the renewable energy sector employs three times as many people as fossil fuels in the U.S. That number is expected to rise over the next few years—and as a plus, these jobs tend to pay above average wages, making it a desirable career option and an overall economic boom. 

8. Renewable energy can help solve our waste problem

Specifically, biomass energy can offer a significant benefit in this way. Biomass generators consume used organic products like vegetable oil, corn and soybean byproducts, and even algae to generate energy. Because of this, using biomass as an energy source can reduce the amount of waste that goes into landfills, which helps cut down on carbon emissions and environmental contamination.

Disadvantages of renewable energy

Renewable energy has many benefits, but it’s not always sunny when it comes to renewable energy. Here are some cons of renewable energy when compared to traditional fuel sources:

Renewable energy has high upfront costs.

Renewable energy is intermittent.

Renewables have storage capabilities.

Renewable energy sources have geographic limitations.

Renewables aren’t always 100% carbon-free.

1. Higher upfront cost

While you can save money using renewable energy, the technologies are typically more expensive upfront than traditional energy generators. To combat this, financial incentives such as tax credits and rebates are available to help alleviate your initial costs of renewable technology.

2. Intermittency

Though renewable energy resources are available around the world, many of these resources aren’t available 24/7, year-round. Some days may be windier than others, the sun doesn’t shine at night, and droughts may occur for periods. Unpredictable weather events can disrupt these technologies, and the amount of energy we can get from renewable power sources can be inconsistent. Fossil fuels are not intermittent, and power plants can be turned on or off at any time to provide an energy supply. Wondering if you should make the switch to renewables? Find out if an energy source like solar power is a good fit for you . 

3. Storage capabilities

Because of the intermittency of some renewable energy sources, there’s a high need for energy storage. Storage technologies are available but can be expensive, especially for large-scale renewable energy plants. It’s worth noting that energy storage capacity is growing as the technology progresses, and batteries are becoming more affordable as time passes.

4. Geographic limitations

The United States has a diverse geography with varying climates, topographies, vegetation, etc. This creates a beautiful melting pot of landscapes but also means that some geographies are more suitable for renewable technologies than others. For example, a large property in a rural area with open space may be an excellent place for a residential wind farm or a large-scale solar farm. At the same time, a townhome in a city covered in shade from taller buildings wouldn’t be able to reap the benefits of either technology. There are other options if your property isn’t suitable for a personal renewable energy technology. If you’re interested in solar but don’t have a sunny property, you can often still benefit from renewable energy by purchasing green power or enrolling in a community solar option .

5. Not 100% carbon-free

Although solar panels and other forms of renewable energy drastically reduce carbon emissions, these resources aren’t always completely clean. The manufacturing, transportation, and installation of renewable energy, like wind turbines, can create a carbon footprint since they’re usually produced in factories powered by fossil fuels —not to mention the diesel and gasoline needed to fuel the transport trucks. As the U.S. becomes more and more electrified – from solar panels on factories to electric transport trucks – carbon emissions associated with solar will continue to decrease.

6. Supply chain constraints

Renewables must have an effective distribution network created to transfer the energy where it’s needed on a large scale. These networks need non-renewable fuels to be generated, which offsets the benefits of renewable energy for a bit until it’s paid back. Additionally, politics can play a factor in installing renewable energy if it’s not a priority among local governments.

Types of renewable energy sources

There are a few types of renewable sources we can use for energy production: 

Wind energy leverages the power of wind motion to generate electricity created by the uneven heating of the Earth’s surface. 

Solar power uses energy from the sun to generate electricity and heat.

Hydropower utilizes fast-moving water to spin turbines and generate electricity. This is also known as hydroelectric power or hydroelectricity.

Biomass generates electricity from organic plant matter.

Geothermal energy leverages heat from inside the earth to generate electricity.

Tidal produces electricity with special generators that leverage the surges of the ocean created during rising and falling tides. Hydrogen: utilized as fuel and electricity when separated from other elements like oxygen.

Nuclear energy , while not technically renewable, is often lumped in with the abovementioned sources. Nuclear power has the potential to provide electricity generation on a massive scale with zero emissions, making it an intriguing part of our energy future.

Renewable energy has more benefits than drawbacks

When it comes to renewable energy, the positives outweigh the negatives. Transitioning to renewables on a personal, corporate, or governmental level will help you save money and promote a cleaner, healthier environment for the future.

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Renewable Energy

Renewable energy comes from sources that will not be used up in our lifetimes, such as the sun and wind.

Earth Science, Experiential Learning, Engineering, Geology

Wind Turbines in a Sheep Pasture

Wind turbines use the power of wind to generate energy. This is just one source of renewable energy.

Photograph by Jesus Keller/ Shutterstock

Wind turbines use the power of wind to generate energy. This is just one source of renewable energy.

The wind, the sun, and Earth are sources of  renewable energy . These energy sources naturally renew, or replenish themselves.

Wind, sunlight, and the planet have energy that transforms in ways we can see and feel. We can see and feel evidence of the transfer of energy from the sun to Earth in the sunlight shining on the ground and the warmth we feel when sunlight shines on our skin. We can see and feel evidence of the transfer of energy in wind’s ability to pull kites higher into the sky and shake the leaves on trees. We can see and feel evidence of the transfer of energy in the geothermal energy of steam vents and geysers .

People have created different ways to capture the energy from these renewable sources.

Solar Energy

Solar energy can be captured “actively” or “passively.”

Active solar energy uses special technology to capture the sun’s rays. The two main types of equipment are photovoltaic cells (also called PV cells or solar cells) and mirrors that focus sunlight in a specific spot. These active solar technologies use sunlight to generate electricity , which we use to power lights, heating systems, computers, and televisions.

Passive solar energy does not use any equipment. Instead, it gets energy from the way sunlight naturally changes throughout the day. For example, people can build houses so their windows face the path of the sun. This means the house will get more heat from the sun. It will take less energy from other sources to heat the house.

Other examples of passive solar technology are green roofs , cool roofs, and radiant barriers . Green roofs are completely covered with plants. Plants can get rid of pollutants in rainwater and air. They help make the local environment cleaner.

Cool roofs are painted white to better reflect sunlight. Radiant barriers are made of a reflective covering, such as aluminum. They both reflect the sun’s heat instead of absorbing it. All these types of roofs help lower the amount of energy needed to cool the building.

Advantages and Disadvantages There are many advantages to using solar energy. PV cells last for a long time, about 20 years.

However, there are reasons why solar power cannot be used as the only power source in a community. It can be expensive to install PV cells or build a building using passive solar technology.

Sunshine can also be hard to predict. It can be blocked by clouds, and the sun doesn’t shine at night. Different parts of Earth receive different amounts of sunlight based on location, the time of year, and the time of day.

Wind Energy

People have been harnessing the wind’s energy for a long, long time. Five-thousand years ago, ancient Egyptians made boats powered by the wind. In 200 B.C.E., people used windmills to grind grain in the Middle East and pump water in China.

Today, we capture the wind’s energy with wind turbines . A turbine is similar to a windmill; it has a very tall tower with two or three propeller-like blades at the top. These blades are turned by the wind. The blades turn a generator (located inside the tower), which creates electricity.

Groups of wind turbines are known as wind farms . Wind farms can be found near farmland, in narrow mountain passes, and even in the ocean, where there are steadier and stronger winds. Wind turbines anchored in the ocean are called “ offshore wind farms.”

Wind farms create electricity for nearby homes, schools, and other buildings.

Advantages and Disadvantages Wind energy can be very efficient . In places like the Midwest in the United States and along coasts, steady winds can provide cheap, reliable electricity.

Another great advantage of wind power is that it is a “clean” form of energy. Wind turbines do not burn fuel or emit any pollutants into the air.

Wind is not always a steady source of energy, however. Wind speed changes constantly, depending on the time of day, weather , and geographic location. Currently, it cannot be used to provide electricity for all our power needs.

Wind turbines can also be dangerous for bats and birds. These animals cannot always judge how fast the blades are moving and crash into them.

Geothermal Energy

Deep beneath the surface is Earth’s core . The center of Earth is extremely hot—thought to be over 6,000 °C (about 10,800 °F). The heat is constantly moving toward the surface.

We can see some of Earth’s heat when it bubbles to the surface. Geothermal energy can melt underground rocks into magma and cause the magma to bubble to the surface as lava . Geothermal energy can also heat underground sources of water and force it to spew out from the surface. This stream of water is called a geyser.

However, most of Earth’s heat stays underground and makes its way out very, very slowly.

We can access underground geothermal heat in different ways. One way of using geothermal energy is with “geothermal heat pumps.” A pipe of water loops between a building and holes dug deep underground. The water is warmed by the geothermal energy underground and brings the warmth aboveground to the building. Geothermal heat pumps can be used to heat houses, sidewalks, and even parking lots.

Another way to use geothermal energy is with steam. In some areas of the world, there is underground steam that naturally rises to the surface. The steam can be piped straight to a power plant. However, in other parts of the world, the ground is dry. Water must be injected underground to create steam. When the steam comes to the surface, it is used to turn a generator and create electricity.

In Iceland, there are large reservoirs of underground water. Almost 90 percent of people in Iceland use geothermal as an energy source to heat their homes and businesses.

Advantages and Disadvantages An advantage of geothermal energy is that it is clean. It does not require any fuel or emit any harmful pollutants into the air.

Geothermal energy is only avaiable in certain parts of the world. Another disadvantage of using geothermal energy is that in areas of the world where there is only dry heat underground, large quantities of freshwater are used to make steam. There may not be a lot of freshwater. People need water for drinking, cooking, and bathing.

Biomass Energy

Biomass is any material that comes from plants or microorganisms that were recently living. Plants create energy from the sun through photosynthesis . This energy is stored in the plants even after they die.

Trees, branches, scraps of bark, and recycled paper are common sources of biomass energy. Manure, garbage, and crops , such as corn, soy, and sugar cane, can also be used as biomass feedstocks .

We get energy from biomass by burning it. Wood chips, manure, and garbage are dried out and compressed into squares called “briquettes.” These briquettes are so dry that they do not absorb water. They can be stored and burned to create heat or generate electricity.

Biomass can also be converted into biofuel . Biofuels are mixed with regular gasoline and can be used to power cars and trucks. Biofuels release less harmful pollutants than pure gasoline.

Advantages and Disadvantages A major advantage of biomass is that it can be stored and then used when it is needed.

Growing crops for biofuels, however, requires large amounts of land and pesticides . Land could be used for food instead of biofuels. Some pesticides could pollute the air and water.

Biomass energy can also be a nonrenewable energy source. Biomass energy relies on biomass feedstocks—plants that are processed and burned to create electricity. Biomass feedstocks can include crops, such as corn or soy, as well as wood. If people do not replant biomass feedstocks as fast as they use them, biomass energy becomes a non-renewable energy source.

Hydroelectric Energy

Hydroelectric energy is made by flowing water. Most hydroelectric power plants are located on large dams , which control the flow of a river.

Dams block the river and create an artificial lake, or reservoir. A controlled amount of water is forced through tunnels in the dam. As water flows through the tunnels, it turns huge turbines and generates electricity.

Advantages and Disadvantages Hydroelectric energy is fairly inexpensive to harness. Dams do not need to be complex, and the resources to build them are not difficult to obtain. Rivers flow all over the world, so the energy source is available to millions of people.

Hydroelectric energy is also fairly reliable. Engineers control the flow of water through the dam, so the flow does not depend on the weather (the way solar and wind energies do).

However, hydroelectric power plants are damaging to the environment. When a river is dammed, it creates a large lake behind the dam. This lake (sometimes called a reservoir) drowns the original river habitat deep underwater. Sometimes, people build dams that can drown entire towns underwater. The people who live in the town or village must move to a new area.

Hydroelectric power plants don’t work for a very long time: Some can only supply power for 20 or 30 years. Silt , or dirt from a riverbed, builds up behind the dam and slows the flow of water.

Other Renewable Energy Sources

Scientists and engineers are constantly working to harness other renewable energy sources. Three of the most promising are tidal energy , wave energy , and algal (or algae) fuel.

Tidal energy harnesses the power of ocean tides to generate electricity. Some tidal energy projects use the moving tides to turn the blades of a turbine. Other projects use small dams to continually fill reservoirs at high tide and slowly release the water (and turn turbines) at low tide.

Wave energy harnesses waves from the ocean, lakes, or rivers. Some wave energy projects use the same equipment that tidal energy projects do—dams and standing turbines. Other wave energy projects float directly on waves. The water’s constant movement over and through these floating pieces of equipment turns turbines and creates electricity.

Algal fuel is a type of biomass energy that uses the unique chemicals in seaweed to create a clean and renewable biofuel. Algal fuel does not need the acres of cropland that other biofuel feedstocks do.

Renewable Nations

These nations (or groups of nations) produce the most energy using renewable resources. Many of them are also the leading producers of nonrenewable energy: China, European Union, United States, Brazil, and Canada

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Why renewables are the cornerstone of the global energy transition

renewable energy transition

Renewable energy, energy efficiency and electrification are key to energy transition Image:  Dan Meyers on Unsplash

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  • It's now clear that renewable energy, energy efficiency and electrification must be the drivers of the deep decarbonization we need.
  • New analysis from IRENA finds that renewables are now the cheapest form of energy - and capacity is set to rise significantly over the next few decades.

Addressing climate change requires us to decarbonize both energy supply and demand by 2050. The US, Europe and China have committed to net zero or carbon neutrality by mid-century. Others are following suit. This will have a profound effect on the global energy transition, placing electricity as a key vector in decarbonizing the entire energy sector.

The latest insights from IRENA’s World Energy Transitions Outlook were released on 16 March at the Berlin Energy Transitions Dialogue. It provides in-depth analysis of what these effects will look like, starting from the Paris Climate agreement objective of limiting climate change to well below 2˚C and with an effort for 1.5˚C by the end of this century. While several options are being considered for a deep decarbonization, it is clear that renewable energy, energy efficiency and electrification are at the centre of the global energy transition .

Renewable energy and global energy transition

While climate change mitigation is a powerful driver behind the shift away from fossil fuel-based power generation, this is not the only driver. At the same time, renewable power has become the cheapest form of electricity generation and the costs continue to fall thanks to improvements in technology and economies of scale. The share of renewable power continue to rise from year to year, with nearly 30% renewables in the global power mix at present and renewables dominating yearly capacity additions (see Figure 1, below).

Increasing share of renewable energy in the mix, is pushing the green energy transition goals in the right direction

New IRENA analysis indicates a continued swift energy transition to renewable power generation worldwide in the coming three decades, with shares of variable (or intermittent) renewables – solar PV and wind – growing especially rapidly. Variable renewables will dominate the world's total power supply by 2050, a major change from today’s situation. Yet experience from around the world shows it is possible to operate power systems with high shares of variable renewables, as witnessed in Germany, Ireland and the UK, amongst others. During 2020, despite the COVID-19 pandemic, the share of renewables (mainly variable) in total electricity generation was 40% in Europe, a more than 4% increase in the share in comparison to 2019. Most notably, the share of other generation sources fell in Europe over the same period between 6% and 16%, as in the case of coal-based generation.

Increasing flexibility to smoothen energy transition

The operation of power systems with a high share of variable renewables requires much higher flexibility. Today, dispatchable fossil plants (that is, plants that can generate electricity on demand) provide that flexibility, but this will change going forward as their role declines. IRENA has identified 30 options for increasing flexibility across four main pillars : hardware, markets and regulations, and operational practices and business models (see figure 2, below). This toolkit of options must be deployed in the context of each power system’s specific characteristics. Especially the demand side offers interesting possibilities, as the electrification trend results in new loads connected to the system -such as electric vehicles, behind-the-meter batteries and heat pumps- which if operated smartly can support grid balancing. This is helped by rapid digitalization of power systems. Time-of-use pricing, aggregators, Demand Side Management are some of the strategies that benefit from digitalization and smart grids continue to expand worldwide. Still many transmission and distribution grids will require expansion and upgrading in order to deal with the new power system realities.

green energy transition renewables

Also, regulations and grid codes need to be adjusted in order to enable to full deployment of the new flexibility options. This is an area that warrants more attention.

Electrification, including buildings, transport and industry, as well as the production of green hydrogen, will play a key role in a net-zero CO2 emissions future.

IRENA analysis suggests that up to a quarter of all electricity will be used for the production of green hydrogen . At the same time, a massive shift will occur towards electrification of road transportation while synfuels produced from clean hydrogen will play an increasing role in aviation and shipping. Whereas better building efficiency will reduce the need for heating and cooling, this is balanced by a shift to electric heat pumps. The analysis suggests that direct electricity use and indirect electricity use for the production of green hydrogen and derived synfuels may account for 60% of total final energy use by 2050, up from around 21% today. As a consequence, electricity demand will grow 3-4 fold from today’s level. This represents a massive shift; the electricity sector will become the central pillar of global energy supply and demand, a much bigger role than it has played in previous decades. Traditional incumbents in the energy sector, such as oil and gas companies, are already eyeing this trend and developing strategies to become electricity market players . It remains to be seen who will become the dominant player in this market in coming decades.

Moving to clean energy is key to combating climate change, yet in the past five years, the energy transition has stagnated.

Energy consumption and production contribute to two-thirds of global emissions, and 81% of the global energy system is still based on fossil fuels, the same percentage as 30 years ago. Plus, improvements in the energy intensity of the global economy (the amount of energy used per unit of economic activity) are slowing. In 2018 energy intensity improved by 1.2%, the slowest rate since 2010.

Effective policies, private-sector action and public-private cooperation are needed to create a more inclusive, sustainable, affordable and secure global energy system.

Benchmarking progress is essential to a successful transition. The World Economic Forum’s Energy Transition Index , which ranks 115 economies on how well they balance energy security and access with environmental sustainability and affordability, shows that the biggest challenge facing energy transition is the lack of readiness among the world’s largest emitters, including US, China, India and Russia. The 10 countries that score the highest in terms of readiness account for only 2.6% of global annual emissions.

benefits of renewable energy essay

To future-proof the global energy system, the Forum’s Centre for Energy & Materials is working on initiatives including Clean Power and Electrification , Energy and Industry Transition Intelligence, Industrial Ecosystems Transformation , and Transition Enablers to encourage and enable innovative energy investments, technologies and solutions.

Additionally, the Mission Possible Partnership (MPP) is working to assemble public and private partners to further the industry transition to set heavy industry and mobility sectors on the pathway towards net-zero emissions. MPP is an initiative created by the World Economic Forum and the Energy Transitions Commission.

Is your organisation interested in working with the World Economic Forum? Find out more here .

Given the growth in electricity demand and the shift to renewable power a massive expansion of clean power generation will be needed and infrastructure planning must be ramped up accordingly. The investment needs are hefty and it is critical to ensure that the infrastructure rollout speed is commensurate with the needs of the energy transition. This will require further streamlining of planning and approval processes.

IRENA continues to work with its 164 member countries to devise and implement renewable energy transition strategies for power sector transformation based on its Innovation Toolbox , Flextool , power systems planning and grid studies.

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  • 08 August 2023

Clean energy can fuel the future — and make the world healthier

You have full access to this article via your institution.

Aerial view of rows of solar panels on a hillside in Zhumadian, Henan Province of China.

China is on track to reach its solar-power target for 2030. Credit: Zhao Yongtao/VCG/Getty

The 2030 targets laid out by the United Nations for the seventh Sustainable Development Goal (SDG 7) are clear enough: provide affordable access to energy; expand use of renewable sources; improve energy efficiency year on year; and enhance international cooperation in support of clean-energy research, development and infrastructure. Meeting those goals, however, will be anything but simple. As seen in many of the editorials in this series examining the SDGs at their halfway stage , the world is falling short.

This is due, at least in part, to the influence of the fossil-fuel industry, which drives the economics and, often, the politics of countries large and small, rich and poor. Rising human prosperity, as measured by economic growth, has long been linked to an abundance of fossil fuels. Many politicians fear that the pursuit of clean-energy sources will compromise that economic development. The latest science clearly counters this view — but the voice of the research community is not being heard in the right places. To meet the targets embodied in SDG 7, that has to change.

There is much to be done. In 2021, some 675 million people worldwide still did not have access to electricity. This is down from 1.1 billion a decade or so ago, but the pace of progress has slowed. On the basis of current trends, 660 million people, many of them in sub-Saharan Africa, will remain without electricity by 2030. And projections indicate that some 1.9 billion people will still be using polluting and inefficient cooking systems fuelled by coal and wood (see go.nature.com/3s8d887 ). This is bad news all round: for health, biodiversity and the climate.

benefits of renewable energy essay

Carbon emissions hit new high: warning from COP27

Achieving the energy-access targets was always going to be a stretch, but progress has been slow elsewhere, too. Take energy efficiency. More energy efficiency means less pollution, and energy efficiency has increased by around 2% annually in the past few years. But meeting the target for 2030 — to double the rate of the 1990–2010 average — would require gains of around 3.4% every year for the rest of this decade.

The picture for renewable energy is similarly mixed. Despite considerable growth in wind and solar power to generate grid electricity, progress in the heat and transport sectors remains sluggish. Renewable energy’s share of total global energy consumption was just 19.1% in 2020, according to the latest UN tracking report, but one-third of that came from burning resources such as wood.

One reason for the slow progress is the continued idea that aggressive clean-energy goals will get in the way of economic development. It’s easier and more profitable for major fossil-fuel producers to simply maintain the status quo. Just last month, ministers from the G20 group of the world’s biggest economies, including the European Union, India, Saudi Arabia and the United States, failed to agree on a plan to phase out fossil fuels and triple the capacity of renewable energy by 2030.

But this is where science has a story to tell. In the past, researchers say, many models indicated that clean energy would be more expensive than that from fossil fuels, potentially pricing the poorest nations out of the market as well as driving up people’s food bills and exacerbating hunger. But the latest research suggests that the picture is more complex. Energy is a linchpin for most of the SDGs, and research that merges climate, energy and the SDGs underscores this 1 . For example, the agriculture and food-transport sectors still depend on fossil fuels, and that generates pollution that kills millions of people each year. Other links are indirect: lack of access to light at night and to online information — as a result of energy poverty — hampers educational attainment and contributes to both long- and short-term inequality.

benefits of renewable energy essay

US aims for electric-car revolution — will it work?

The lesson from research is that it might be easier, not harder, to address these challenges together. In 2021, researcher Gabriela Iacobuţă at the German Institute of Development and Sustainability in Bonn and her colleagues showed that technologies centred on renewable resources and efficiency tend to come with few trade-offs and many benefits, including improved public health and wealth, thanks to a cleaner environment and better jobs 2 . And climate scientist Bjoern Soergel at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research in Germany and his colleagues found that a coordinated package of climate and development policies could achieve most of the SDGs while limiting global warming to 1.5 °C above pre-industrial levels 3 .

The study assessed 56 indicators across all 17 SDGs. One proposed intervention is an international climate finance mechanism that would levy fees on carbon emissions that would be redistributed through national programmes to reduce poverty. A second focuses on promoting healthy diets — including reducing the consumption of meat, the production of which requires a lot of water, energy and land. This would benefit people on low incomes by lowering both food and energy prices.

The biggest challenge lies in translating these models to the real world. To do so, we need leaders who are not bound by outmoded thinking, are aware of the latest science and can draw on the research to build public support for the necessary energy transition. We require more national and international public institutions that are willing to address problems at the system level. And all of this needs a science community that is willing and able to champion knowledge and evidence.

Nature 620 , 245 (2023)

doi: https://doi.org/10.1038/d41586-023-02510-y

Vohra, K. et al. Environ. Res. 195 , 110754 (2021).

Article   PubMed   Google Scholar  

Iacobuţă, G. I., Höhne, N., van Soest, H. L. & Leemans, R. Sustainability 13 , 10774 (2021).

Article   Google Scholar  

Soergel, B. et al. Nature Clim. Change 11 , 656–664 (2021).

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Renewable energy, explained

Solar, wind, hydroelectric, biomass, and geothermal power can provide energy without the planet-warming effects of fossil fuels.

In any discussion about climate change , renewable energy usually tops the list of changes the world can implement to stave off the worst effects of rising temperatures. That's because renewable energy sources such as solar and wind don't emit carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases that contribute to global warming .

Clean energy has far more to recommend it than just being "green." The growing sector creates jobs , makes electric grids more resilient, expands energy access in developing countries, and helps lower energy bills. All of those factors have contributed to a renewable energy renaissance in recent years, with wind and solar setting new records for electricity generation .

For the past 150 years or so, humans have relied heavily on coal, oil, and other fossil fuels to power everything from light bulbs to cars to factories. Fossil fuels are embedded in nearly everything we do, and as a result, the greenhouse gases released from the burning of those fuels have reached historically high levels .

As greenhouse gases trap heat in the atmosphere that would otherwise escape into space, average temperatures on the surface are rising . Global warming is one symptom of climate change, the term scientists now prefer to describe the complex shifts affecting our planet’s weather and climate systems. Climate change encompasses not only rising average temperatures but also extreme weather events, shifting wildlife populations and habitats, rising seas , and a range of other impacts .

Of course, renewables—like any source of energy—have their own trade-offs and associated debates. One of them centers on the definition of renewable energy. Strictly speaking, renewable energy is just what you might think: perpetually available, or as the U.S. Energy Information Administration puts it, " virtually inexhaustible ." But "renewable" doesn't necessarily mean sustainable, as opponents of corn-based ethanol or large hydropower dams often argue. It also doesn't encompass other low- or zero-emissions resources that have their own advocates, including energy efficiency and nuclear power.

Types of renewable energy sources

Hydropower: For centuries, people have harnessed the energy of river currents, using dams to control water flow. Hydropower is the world's biggest source of renewable energy by far, with China, Brazil, Canada, the U.S., and Russia the leading hydropower producers . While hydropower is theoretically a clean energy source replenished by rain and snow, it also has several drawbacks.


Large dams can disrupt river ecosystems and surrounding communities , harming wildlife and displacing residents. Hydropower generation is vulnerable to silt buildup, which can compromise capacity and harm equipment. Drought can also cause problems. In the western U.S., carbon dioxide emissions over a 15-year period were 100 megatons higher than they normally would have been, according to a 2018 study , as utilities turned to coal and gas to replace hydropower lost to drought. Even hydropower at full capacity bears its own emissions problems, as decaying organic material in reservoirs releases methane.

Dams aren't the only way to use water for power: Tidal and wave energy projects around the world aim to capture the ocean's natural rhythms. Marine energy projects currently generate an estimated 500 megawatts of power —less than one percent of all renewables—but the potential is far greater. Programs like Scotland’s Saltire Prize have encouraged innovation in this area.

Wind: Harnessing the wind as a source of energy started more than 7,000 years ago . Now, electricity-generating wind turbines are proliferating around the globe, and China, the U.S., and Germany are the leading wind energy producers. From 2001 to 2017 , cumulative wind capacity around the world increased to more than 539,000 megawatts from 23,900 mw—more than 22 fold.

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Some people may object to how wind turbines look on the horizon and to how they sound, but wind energy, whose prices are declining , is proving too valuable a resource to deny. While most wind power comes from onshore turbines, offshore projects are appearing too, with the most in the U.K. and Germany. The first U.S. offshore wind farm opened in 2016 in Rhode Island, and other offshore projects are gaining momentum . Another problem with wind turbines is that they’re a danger for birds and bats, killing hundreds of thousands annually , not as many as from glass collisions and other threats like habitat loss and invasive species, but enough that engineers are working on solutions to make them safer for flying wildlife.

Solar: From home rooftops to utility-scale farms, solar power is reshaping energy markets around the world. In the decade from 2007 and 2017 the world's total installed energy capacity from photovoltaic panels increased a whopping 4,300 percent .

In addition to solar panels, which convert the sun's light to electricity, concentrating solar power (CSP) plants use mirrors to concentrate the sun's heat, deriving thermal energy instead. China, Japan, and the U.S. are leading the solar transformation, but solar still has a long way to go, accounting for around two percent of the total electricity generated in the U.S. in 2017. Solar thermal energy is also being used worldwide for hot water, heating, and cooling.

Biomass: Biomass energy includes biofuels such as ethanol and biodiesel , wood and wood waste, biogas from landfills, and municipal solid waste. Like solar power, biomass is a flexible energy source, able to fuel vehicles, heat buildings, and produce electricity. But biomass can raise thorny issues.

Critics of corn-based ethanol , for example, say it competes with the food market for corn and supports the same harmful agricultural practices that have led to toxic algae blooms and other environmental hazards. Similarly, debates have erupted over whether it's a good idea to ship wood pellets from U.S. forests over to Europe so that it can be burned for electricity. Meanwhile, scientists and companies are working on ways to more efficiently convert corn stover , wastewater sludge , and other biomass sources into energy, aiming to extract value from material that would otherwise go to waste.

Geothermal: Used for thousands of years in some countries for cooking and heating, geothermal energy is derived from the Earth’s internal heat . On a large scale, underground reservoirs of steam and hot water can be tapped through wells that can go a mile deep or more to generate electricity. On a smaller scale, some buildings have geothermal heat pumps that use temperature differences several feet below ground for heating and cooling. Unlike solar and wind energy, geothermal energy is always available, but it has side effects that need to be managed, such as the rotten egg smell that can accompany released hydrogen sulfide.

Ways to boost renewable energy

Cities, states, and federal governments around the world are instituting policies aimed at increasing renewable energy. At least 29 U.S. states have set renewable portfolio standards —policies that mandate a certain percentage of energy from renewable sources, More than 100 cities worldwide now boast at least 70 percent renewable energy, and still others are making commitments to reach 100 percent . Other policies that could encourage renewable energy growth include carbon pricing, fuel economy standards, and building efficiency standards. Corporations are making a difference too, purchasing record amounts of renewable power in 2018.

Wonder whether your state could ever be powered by 100 percent renewables? No matter where you live, scientist Mark Jacobson believes it's possible. That vision is laid out here , and while his analysis is not without critics , it punctuates a reality with which the world must now reckon. Even without climate change, fossil fuels are a finite resource, and if we want our lease on the planet to be renewed, our energy will have to be renewable.

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  • Renewable Energy

What Is Renewable Energy?

Renewable energy comes from unlimited, naturally replenished resources, such as the sun, tides, and wind. Renewable energy can be used for electricity generation, space and water heating and cooling, and transportation.

Non-renewable energy, in contrast, comes from finite sources, such as coal, natural gas, and oil.

How Does Renewable Energy Work?

Renewable energy sources, such as biomass, the heat in the earth’s crust, sunlight, water, and wind, are natural resources that can be converted into several types of clean, usable energy:

benefits of renewable energy essay

Bioenergy Geothermal Energy Hydrogen and Other Renewable Fuels Hydropower Marine Energy Solar Energy Wind Energy

Learn the truth about clean energy.

Benefits of Renewable Energy

Renewable energy offers numerous economic, environmental, and social advantages. These include:

  • Reduced carbon emissions and air pollution from energy production
  • Enhanced reliability , security, and resilience of the power grid
  • Job creation through the increased production and manufacturing of renewable energy technologies
  • Increased U.S. energy independence
  • Lower energy costs
  • Expanded energy access for remote, coastal, or isolated communities.

Learn more about the advantages of wind energy , solar energy , bioenergy , geothermal energy , hydropower , and marine energy , and how the U.S. Department of Energy is working to modernize the power grid and increase renewable energy production.

Renewable Energy in the United States

Renewable energy generates over 20% of all U.S. electricity , and that percentage continues to grow. The following graphic breaks down the shares of total electricity production in 2022 among the types of renewable power: 

Renewable Energy Share of Total U.S. Electricity Production in 2022. 10.3% wind, 6.0% hydropower, 3.4% solar, 1.2% biomass, 0.4% geothermal.

In 2022, annual U.S. renewable energy generation surpassed coal for the first time in history. By 2025, domestic solar energy generation is expected to increase by 75%, and wind by 11%. 

The United States is a resource-rich country with enough renewable energy resources to generate more than 100 times the amount of electricity Americans use each year.  Learn more about renewable energy potential in the United States.

Subscribe to stay up to date on the latest clean energy news from EERE.

Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy

The U.S. Department of Energy's Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) has three core divisions: Renewable Energy, Sustainable Transportation and Fuels, and Buildings and Industry. The Renewable Energy pillar comprises four technology offices:

A large seal showing the logos of the various EERE offices, with "Are You A Clean Energy Champion?" written across the middle of it on a ribbon

Every American can advocate for renewable energy by becoming a Clean Energy Champion. Both small and large actions make a difference. Join the movement .

Advancing Renewable Energy in the United States

EERE offers funding for renewable energy research and development, as well as programs that support the siting of renewable energy , connection of renewable energy to the grid , and community-led energy projects . Find open funding opportunities and learn how to apply for funding .

The U.S. Department of Energy's 17 national laboratories conduct research and help bring renewable energy technologies to market. 

Renewable Energy at Home

Homeowners and renters can use clean energy at home by buying green power, installing renewable energy systems to generate electricity, or using renewable resources for water and space heating and cooling.

Before installing a renewable energy system, it's important to reduce your energy consumption and improve your home’s energy efficiency .

Visit Energy Saver to learn more about the use of renewable energy at home.

You may be eligible for federal and state tax credits if you install a renewable energy system in your home. Visit ENERGY STAR to learn about federal renewable energy tax credits for homeowners. For information on state incentives, visit the Database of State Incentives for Renewables and Efficiency .

Other Ways EERE Champions Clean Energy

Find clean energy jobs.

EERE is dedicated to building a clean energy economy, which means millions of new jobs in construction, manufacturing, and many other industries. Learn more about job opportunities in renewable energy:

C-CHANGE | Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health

Photo by: Flickr | Adrian S. Jones | CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

Health Benefits of Renewable Energy

08/31/2015 | nature climate change.

How renewable energy is good for your health.

Renewable electricity projects and energy efficiency measures could have health benefits worth millions of dollars a year, according to a study published online in Nature Climate Change. The value of such projects varies greatly depending on the type of project, and where they are located, however.

Generating electricity from low-carbon energy sources and cutting energy demand reduces the need for fossil fuel power generation, decreasing emissions of harmful gases such as nitrogen oxides, sulfur dioxide, and carbon dioxide. Dr. Jonathan Buonocore, Research Associate at Harvard C-CHANGE, and colleagues created an assessment tool to calculate the monetized public health and climate benefits of a wind and a solar energy project and two strategies aimed at reducing energy usage in the Mid-Atlantic and Lower Great Lakes region of the United States for 2012.

They found that while all the low-carbon energy projects reduced greenhouse gas emissions, the results varied dramatically by location. For example, a wind installation near Cincinnati was twice as beneficial as one in Virginia, largely because of Cincinnati’s higher downwind population density and greater reduction in coal-fired electricity, magnifying the effects on human health. Meanwhile, a solar installation near Cincinnati was nearly three times as beneficial as one near Chicago because it displaced much coal with greater sulfur dioxide emissions.

The authors conclude that the benefit of implementing such strategies ranged from US$5.7 to US$210 million a year, depending on the project type and location. They suggest that their tool could be used to make decisions about which energy and environmental policies to implement across the United States.

“Health and climate benefits of different energy-efficiency and renewable energy choices.” Jonathan J. Buonocore, Patrick Luckow, Gregory Norris, John D. Spengler, Bruce Biewald, Jeremy Fisher, and Jonathan I. Levy. Nature Climate Change volume 6, pages100–105 (2016)

Learn more:

  • Renewable Energy is Good for Your Health  (IEEE Spectrum)
  • Energy Efficiency and Renewables: Benefits Environment & Economy (Decoded Science)
  • Better Health a Key Benefit of Renewables, Study Says  (Climate Central)

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What is renewable energy?

Renewable energy is energy derived from natural sources that are replenished at a higher rate than they are consumed. Sunlight and wind, for example, are such sources that are constantly being replenished. Renewable energy sources are plentiful and all around us.

Fossil fuels - coal, oil and gas - on the other hand, are non-renewable resources that take hundreds of millions of years to form. Fossil fuels, when burned to produce energy, cause harmful greenhouse gas emissions, such as carbon dioxide.

Generating renewable energy creates far lower emissions than burning fossil fuels. Transitioning from fossil fuels, which currently account for the lion’s share of emissions, to renewable energy is key to addressing the climate crisis.

Renewables are now cheaper in most countries, and generate three times more jobs than fossil fuels.

Here are a few common sources of renewable energy:



Solar energy is the most abundant of all energy resources and can even be harnessed in cloudy weather. The rate at which solar energy is intercepted by the Earth is about 10,000 times greater than the rate at which humankind consumes energy.

Solar technologies can deliver heat, cooling, natural lighting, electricity, and fuels for a host of applications. Solar technologies convert sunlight into electrical energy either through photovoltaic panels or through mirrors that concentrate solar radiation.

Although not all countries are equally endowed with solar energy, a significant contribution to the energy mix from direct solar energy is possible for every country.

The cost of manufacturing solar panels has plummeted dramatically in the last decade, making them not only affordable but often the cheapest form of electricity. Solar panels have a lifespan of roughly 30 years , and come in variety of shades depending on the type of material used in manufacturing.



Wind energy harnesses the kinetic energy of moving air by using large wind turbines located on land (onshore) or in sea- or freshwater (offshore). Wind energy has been used for millennia, but onshore and offshore wind energy technologies have evolved over the last few years to maximize the electricity produced - with taller turbines and larger rotor diameters.

Though average wind speeds vary considerably by location, the world’s technical potential for wind energy exceeds global electricity production, and ample potential exists in most regions of the world to enable significant wind energy deployment.

Many parts of the world have strong wind speeds, but the best locations for generating wind power are sometimes remote ones. Offshore wind power offers t remendous potential .



Geothermal energy utilizes the accessible thermal energy from the Earth’s interior. Heat is extracted from geothermal reservoirs using wells or other means.

Reservoirs that are naturally sufficiently hot and permeable are called hydrothermal reservoirs, whereas reservoirs that are sufficiently hot but that are improved with hydraulic stimulation are called enhanced geothermal systems.

Once at the surface, fluids of various temperatures can be used to generate electricity. The technology for electricity generation from hydrothermal reservoirs is mature and reliable, and has been operating for more than 100 years .


Hydropower harnesses the energy of water moving from higher to lower elevations. It can be generated from reservoirs and rivers. Reservoir hydropower plants rely on stored water in a reservoir, while run-of-river hydropower plants harness energy from the available flow of the river.

Hydropower reservoirs often have multiple uses - providing drinking water, water for irrigation, flood and drought control, navigation services, as well as energy supply.

Hydropower currently is the largest source of renewable energy in the electricity sector. It relies on generally stable rainfall patterns, and can be negatively impacted by climate-induced droughts or changes to ecosystems which impact rainfall patterns.

The infrastructure needed to create hydropower can also impact on ecosystems in adverse ways. For this reason, many consider small-scale hydro a more environmentally-friendly option , and especially suitable for communities in remote locations.



Ocean energy derives from technologies that use the kinetic and thermal energy of seawater - waves or currents for instance -  to produce electricity or heat.

Ocean energy systems are still at an early stage of development, with a number of prototype wave and tidal current devices being explored. The theoretical potential for ocean energy easily exceeds present human energy requirements.


Bioenergy is produced from a variety of organic materials, called biomass, such as wood, charcoal, dung and other manures for heat and power production, and agricultural crops for liquid biofuels. Most biomass is used in rural areas for cooking, lighting and space heating, generally by poorer populations in developing countries.

Modern biomass systems include dedicated crops or trees, residues from agriculture and forestry, and various organic waste streams.

Energy created by burning biomass creates greenhouse gas emissions, but at lower levels than burning fossil fuels like coal, oil or gas. However, bioenergy should only be used in limited applications, given potential negative environmental impacts related to large-scale increases in forest and bioenergy plantations, and resulting deforestation and land-use change.

For more information on renewable sources of energy, please check out the following websites:

International Renewable Energy Agency | Renewables

International Energy Agency | Renewables

Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change | Renewable Sources of Energy

UN Environment Programme | Roadmap to a Carbon-Free Future

Sustainable Energy for All | Renewable Energy

benefits of renewable energy essay

Renewable energy – powering a safer future

What is renewable energy and why does it matter? Learn more about why the shift to renewables is our only hope for a brighter and safer world.

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Five ways to jump-start the renewable energy transition now

UN Secretary-General outlines five critical actions the world needs to prioritize now to speed up the global shift to renewable energy.

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benefits of renewable energy essay

This Is the Future: Essay on Renewable Energy

benefits of renewable energy essay

Today the world population depends on nonrenewable energy resources. With the constantly growing demand for energy, natural gas, coal, and oil get used up and cannot replenish themselves. 

Aside from limited supply, heavy reliance on fossil fuels causes planetary-scale damage. Sea levels are rising. Heat-trapping carbon dioxide increased the warming effect by 45% from 1990 to 2019. The only way to tackle the crisis is to start the transition to renewable energy now. 

What is renewable energy? It is energy that comes from replenishable natural resources like sunlight, wind, thermal energy, moving water, and organic materials. Renewable resources do not run out. They are cost-efficient and renew faster than they are consumed. How does renewable energy save money? It creates new jobs, supports economic growth, and decreases inequitable fossil fuel subsidies. 

At the current rates of production, some fossil fuels will not even last another century. This is why the future depends on reliable and eco-friendly resources. This renewable energy essay examines the types and benefits of renewable energy and its role in creating a sustainable future.

Top 5 Types of Renewable Energy: The Apollo Alliance Rankings

There are many natural resources that can provide people with clean energy. To make a list of the five most booming types of renewable energy on the market today, this energy essay uses data gathered by the Apollo Alliance. It is a project that aims to revolutionize the energy sector of the US with a focus on clean energy. 

The Apollo Alliance unites businesses, community leaders, and environmental experts to support the transition to more sustainable and efficient living. Their expert opinion helped to compile information about the most common and cost-competitive sources of renewable energy. However, if you want to get some more in-depth research, you can entrust it to an essay writer . Here’s a quick overview of renewable energy resources that have a huge potential to substitute fossil fuels. 

Solar Renewable Energy

The most abundant and practically endless resource is solar energy. It can be turned into electricity by photovoltaic systems that convert radiant energy captured from sunlight. Solar farms could generate enough energy for thousands of homes.

An endless supply is the main benefit of solar energy. The rate at which the Earth receives it is 10,000 times greater than people can consume it, as a paper writer points out based on their analysis of research findings. It can substitute fossil fuels and deliver people electricity, hot water, cooling, heat, etc. 

The upfront investment in solar systems is rather expensive. This is one of the primary limitations that prevent businesses and households from switching to this energy source at once. However, the conclusion of solar energy is still favorable. In the long run, it can significantly decrease energy costs. Besides, solar panels are gradually becoming more affordable to manufacture and adopt, even at an individual level. 

Wind Renewable Energy

Another clean energy source is wind. Wind farms use the kinetic energy of wind flow to convert it into electricity. The Appolo Alliance notes that, unlike solar farms, they can’t be placed in any location. To stay cost-competitive, wind farms should operate in windy areas. Although not all countries have the right conditions to use them on a large scale, wind farms might be introduced for some energy diversity. The technical potential for it is still tremendous. 

Wind energy is clean and safe for the environment. It does not pollute the atmosphere with any harmful products compared to nonrenewable energy resources. 

The investment in wind energy is also economically wise. If you examine the cost of this energy resource in an essay on renewable resources, you’ll see that wind farms can deliver electricity at a price lower than nonrenewable resources. Besides, since wind isn’t limited, its cost won’t be influenced by the imbalance of supply and demand.

Geothermal Renewable Energy

Natural renewable resources are all around us, even beneath the ground. Geothermal energy can be produced from the thermal energy from the Earth’s interior. Sometimes heat reaches the surface naturally, for example, in the form of geysers. But it can also be used by geothermal power plants. The Earth’s heat gets captured and converted to steam that turns a turbine. As a result, we get geothermal energy.

This source provides a significant energy supply while having low emissions and no significant footprint on land. A factsheet and essay on renewable resources state that geothermal plants will increase electricity production from 17 billion kWh in 2020 to 49.8 billion kWh in 2050.

However, this method is not without limitations. While writing a renewable resources essay, consider that geothermal energy can be accessed only in certain regions. Geological hotspots are off-limits as they are vulnerable to earthquakes. Yet, the quantity of geothermal resources is likely to grow as technology advances. 

Ocean Renewable Energy

The kinetic and thermal energy of the ocean is a robust resource. Ocean power systems rely on:

  • Changes in sea level;
  • Wave energy;
  • Water surface temperatures;
  • The energy released from seawater and freshwater mixing.

Ocean energy is more predictable compared to other resources. As estimated by EPRI, it has the potential to produce 2640 TWh/yr. However, an important point to consider in a renewable energy essay is that the kinetic energy of the ocean varies. Yet, since it is ruled by the moon’s gravity, the resource is plentiful and continues to be attractive for the energy industry. 

Wave energy systems are still developing. The Apollo energy corporation explores many prototypes. It is looking for the most reliable and robust solution that can function in the harsh ocean environment. 

Another limitation of ocean renewable energy is that it may cause disruptions to marine life. Although its emissions are minimal, the system requires large equipment to be installed in the ocean. 

Biomass Renewable Energy

Organic materials like wood and charcoal have been used for heating and lighting for centuries. There are a lot more types of biomass: from trees, cereal straws, and grass to processed waste. All of them can produce bioenergy. 

Biomass can be converted into energy through burning or using methane produced during the natural process of decomposition. In an essay on renewable sources of energy, the opponents of the method point out that biomass energy is associated with carbon dioxide emissions. Yet, the amount of released greenhouse gases is much lower compared to nonrenewable energy use. 

While biomass is a reliable source of energy, it is only suitable for limited applications. If used too extensively, it might lead to disruptions in biodiversity, a negative impact on land use, and deforestation. Still, Apollo energy includes biomass resources that become waste and decompose quickly anyway. These are organic materials like sawdust, chips from sawmills, stems, nut shells, etc. 

What Is the Apollo Alliance?

The Apollo Alliance is a coalition of business leaders, environmental organizations, labor unions, and foundations. They all unite their efforts in a single project to harness clean energy in new, innovative ways. 

Why Apollo? Similarly to President John F. Kennedy’s Apollo Project, Apollo energy is a strong visionary initiative. It is a dare, a challenge. The alliance calls for the integrity of science, research, technology, and the public to revolutionize the energy industry.

The project has a profound message. Apollo energy solutions are not only about the environment or energy. They are about building a new economy. The alliance gives hope to building a secure future for Americans. 

What is the mission of the Apollo Alliance? 

  • Achieve energy independence with efficient and limitless resources of renewable energy.
  • Pioneer innovation in the energy sector.
  • Build education campaigns and communication to inspire new perceptions of energy. 
  • Create new jobs.
  • Reduce dependence on imported fossil fuels. 
  • Build healthier and happier communities. 

The transformation of the industry will lead to planet-scale changes. The Apollo energy corporation can respond to the global environmental crisis and prevent climate change. 

Apollo renewable energy also has the potential to become a catalyst for social change. With more affordable energy and new jobs in the industry, people can bridge the inequality divide and build stronger communities. 

Why Renewable Energy Is Important for the Future

Renewable energy resources have an enormous potential to cover people’s energy needs on a global scale. Unlike fossil fuels, they are available in abundance and generate minimal to no emissions. 

The burning of fossil fuels caused a lot of environmental problems—from carbon dioxide emissions to ocean acidification. Research this issue in more detail with academic assistance from essay writer online . You can use it to write an essay on renewable sources of energy to explain the importance of change and its global impact. 

Despite all the damage people caused to the planet, there’s still hope to mitigate further repercussions. Every renewable energy essay adds to the existing body of knowledge we have today and advances research in the field. Here are the key advantages and disadvantages of alternative energy resources people should keep in mind. 

Advantage of Green Energy

The use of renewable energy resources has a number of benefits for the climate, human well-being, and economy:

  • Renewable energy resources have little to no greenhouse gas emissions. Even if we take into account the manufacturing and recycling of the technologies involved, their impact on the environment is significantly lower compared to fossil fuels. 
  • Renewable energy promotes self-sufficiency and reduces a country’s dependence on foreign fuel. According to a study, a 1% increase in the use of renewable energy increases economic growth by 0.21%. This gives socio-economic stability.
  • Due to a lack of supply of fossil fuels and quick depletion of natural resources, prices for nonrenewable energy keep increasing. In contrast, green energy is limitless and can be produced locally. In the long run, this allows decreasing the cost of energy. 
  • Unlike fossil fuels, renewable energy doesn’t emit air pollutants. This positively influences health and quality of life. 
  • The emergence of green energy plants creates new jobs. Thus, Apollo energy solutions support the growth of local communities. By 2030, the transition to renewable energy is expected to generate 10.3 million new jobs. 
  • Renewable energy allows decentralization of the industry. Communities get their independent sources of energy that are more flexible in terms of distribution. 
  • Renewable energy supports equality. It has the potential to make energy more affordable to low-income countries and expand access to energy even in remote and less fortunate neighborhoods. 

Disadvantages of Non-Conventional Energy Sources

No technology is perfect. Renewable energy resources have certain drawbacks too: 

  • The production of renewable energy depends on weather conditions. For example, wind farms could be effective only in certain locations where the weather conditions allow it. The weather also makes it so that renewable energy cannot be generated around the clock. 
  • The initial cost of renewable energy technology is expensive. Both manufacturing and installation require significant investment. This is another disadvantage of renewable resources. It makes them unaffordable to a lot of businesses and unavailable for widespread individual use. In addition, the return on investment might not be immediate.
  • Renewable energy technology takes up a lot of space. It may affect life in the communities where these clean energy farms are installed. They may also cause disruptions to wildlife in the areas. 
  • One more limitation a renewable resources essay should consider is the current state of technology. While the potential of renewable energy resources is tremendous, the technology is still in its development phase. Therefore, renewable energy might not substitute fossil fuels overnight. There’s a need for more research, investment, and time to transition to renewable energy completely. Yet, some diversity of energy resources should be introduced as soon as possible. 
  • Renewable energy resources have limited emissions, but they are not entirely pollution-free. The manufacturing process of equipment is associated with greenhouse gas emissions while, for example, the lifespan of a wind turbine is only 20 years. 

For high school seniors eyeing a future rich with innovative endeavors in renewable energy or other fields, it's crucial to seek financial support early on. Explore the top 10 scholarships for high school seniors to find the right fit that can propel you into a future where you can contribute to the renewable energy movement and beyond. Through such financial support, the road to making meaningful contributions to a sustainable future becomes a tangible reality.

Renewable energy unlocks the potential for humanity to have clean energy that is available in abundance. It leads us to economic growth, independence, and stability. With green energy, we can also reduce the impact of human activity on the environment and stop climate change before it’s too late. 

So what’s the conclusion of renewable energy? Transitioning to renewable energy resources might be challenging and expensive. However, most experts agree that the advantages of green energy outweigh any drawbacks. Besides, since technology is continuously evolving, we’ll be able to overcome most limitations in no time.

benefits of renewable energy essay

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Benefits of Renewable Energy

Implementing on-site renewable energy projects, tools and resources.

Local governments can dramatically reduce their carbon footprint by purchasing or directly generating electricity from clean, renewable sources.

The most common renewable power technologies include:

  • Solar (photovoltaic, solar thermal)
  • Biogas (e.g., landfill gas/wastewater treatment digester gas)
  • Low-impact hydroelectricity
  • Emerging technologies - wave and tidal power

Local governments can lead by example by generating energy on–site, purchasing green power, or purchasing renewable energy. Using a combination of renewable energy options can help meet local government goals especially in some regions where availability and quality of renewable resources vary.

Options for using renewable energy include:

Generating renewable energy on-site using a system or device at the location where the power is used (e.g., PV panels on a state building, geothermal heat pumps, biomass-fueled combined heat and power).

Purchasing green power through a green power procurement process that involves the generation of renewable energy certificates (RECs).

Purchasing renewable energy from an electric utility through a green pricing or green marketing program, where buyers pay a small premium in exchange for electricity generated locally from green power resources.

Environmental and economic benefits of using renewable energy include:

  • Generating energy that produces no greenhouse gas emissions from fossil fuels and reduces some types of air pollution
  • Diversifying energy supply and reducing dependence on imported fuels
  • Creating economic development and jobs in manufacturing, installation, and more

Learn how to quantify the multiple benefits of renewable energy with our Guide , or using our benefit evaluation tools .

On-site power generation provides local governments with the most direct access to renewable energy. In addition to the overall benefits, on-site projects also provide a hedge against financial risks and improve power quality and supply reliability.

However, local governments considering on-site generation may face possible technical, financial, and regulatory challenges. To overcome these challenges, local governments can:

  • Assess the availability of local renewable resources
  • Consider the costs of different renewable technologies
  • Examine the aggregate costs and benefits of on-site green power
  • Consider permitting requirements for locations where the facility could be sited
  • Involve local stakeholders, particularly concerning siting
  • Assess available sources of financing and other incentives
  • General Renewable Energy
  • Biomass/Biogas
  • Energy Resources for State, Local, and Tribal Governments (Home)
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U.s. department of energy - energy efficiency and renewable energy, alternative fuels data center.

  • Printable Version

Sustainable Aviation Fuel

Sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) is an alternative fuel made from non-petroleum feedstocks that reduces emissions from air transportation. SAF can be blended at different levels with limits between 10% and 50%, depending on the feedstock and how the fuel is produced. According to the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), over 360,000 commercial flights have used SAF at 46 different airports largely concentrated in the United States and Europe.

Worldwide, aviation accounts for 2% of all carbon dioxide (CO 2 ) emissions and 12% of all CO 2 emissions from transportation. ICAO's Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation (CORSIA) caps net CO 2 aviation emissions at 2020 levels through 2035. The international aviation industry has set an aspirational goal to reach net zero carbon by 2050 . SAF presents the best near-term opportunity to meet these goals. The Sustainable Aviation Fuel Grand Challenge , announced in 2021, brings together multiple federal agencies for the purpose of expanding domestic consumption to 3 billion gallons in 2030 and 35 billion gallons in 2050 while achieving at least a 50% reduction in lifecycle greenhouse gas emissions.

Renewable hydrocarbon biofuels offer many benefits, including:

Engine and infrastructure compatibility —SAF blended with conventional Jet A can be used in existing aircraft and infrastructure.

Fewer emissions —Compared with conventional jet fuel, 100% SAF has the potential to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by up to 94% depending on feedstock and technology pathway.

More flexibility —SAF is a replacement for conventional jet fuel, allowing for multiple products from various feedstocks and production technologies.

SAF can be produced from non-petroleum-based renewable feedstocks including, but not limited to, the food and yard waste portion of municipal solid waste, woody biomass, fats/greases/oils, and other feedstocks. SAF production is in its early stages, with three known commercial producers:

  • World Energy began SAF production in 2016 at its Paramount, California, facility and initially supplied fuel to Los Angeles International Airport prior to supplying additional California airports.
  • International producer Neste began supplying SAF to San Francisco International Airport in 2020 before expanding to other California airports in 2021 and 2022, as well as Aspen/Pitkin County Airport and Telluride Regional Airport, both in Colorado.
  • Montana Renewables LLC began production in partnership with Shell at an existing petroleum production plant in 2023, supplying fuel to several partner airlines.

Additional new domestic plants are expected. Many airlines have signed agreements with existing and future SAF producers to use all their expected output. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) collects renewable fuel data as part of the Renewable Fuel Standard, which provides an approximate consumption for novel biofuels such as SAF. EPA's data show that approximately 5 million gallons of SAF were consumed in 2021, 15.84 million gallons in 2022, and 24.5 million gallons in 2023.

There are multiple technology pathways to produce fuels approved by ASTM and blending limitations based on these pathways. ASTM D7566 Standard Specification for Aviation Turbine Fuel Containing Synthesized Hydrocarbons dictates fuel quality standards for non-petroleum-based jet fuel and outlines approved SAF-based fuels and the percent allowable in a blend with Jet A. All three existing plants use the hydroprocessed esters and fatty acids pathway shown in the table on this page. New domestic plants using the alcohol-to-jet pathway with ethanol as a feedstock are expected. ASTM D1655 Standard Specification for Aviation Turbine Fuels allows co-processing of biomass feedstocks at a petroleum refinery in blends up to 5%.

Both ASTM standards are continuously updated to allow for advancements in technology to produce SAF. DOE's Sustainable Aviation Fuel Review of Technical Pathways provides details on various SAF production pathways. The pathways below represent only those currently approved by ASTM. Processes and tests exist for the approval of other feedstocks, fuel molecules, and blending limits, and the types of approved fuels will increase as these are evaluated through this process.


SAF must be blended with Jet A prior to use in an aircraft. If SAF is co-processed with conventional Jet A at an existing petroleum refinery, the fuel would flow through the supply chain in a business-as-usual model via pipeline to terminals and onwards by pipeline or truck to airports. It is expected that SAF produced at biofuels facilities would be blended with Jet A at existing fuel terminals and then delivered to airports by pipeline or truck. The fuels could also be blended at the terminal directly upstream of an airport or thousands of miles away and transported by pipeline or barge to a terminal near the airport. There would be no change to fuel operations at the airport, as airports are expected to continue to receive blended fuel in the same pipelines and trucks as they do today. While it is technically possible to blend fuels at an airport, it is not the most practical or cost-effective method due to the need for additional equipment, staff, and insurance. Due to strict fuel quality standards, it is preferable to certify SAF as ASTM D1655 upstream of an airport.

Diagram of an airport fuel supply chain. Imported oil and domestic oil go through a refinery and then to storage before passing through a pipeline or being transported by barge/ship, rail, or truck to a fuel terminal and then another pipeline or being transported by truck to an airport. In some cases, the oil refinery is located at the airport. For sustainable aviation fuel, the fuel is transported to a transmodal facility by rail or truck before being transported to a fuel terminal and then to the airport by pipeline or truck. Imported jet fuel and imported sustainable aviation fuel skip the refinery step but follow the rest of the pathway for oil.

Research and Development

The U.S. Department of Energy, the U.S. Department of Transportation, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture support research, development, and analysis for SAF.

Sustainable Aviation Fuel Grand Challenge

  • Sustainable Aviation Fuel Grand Challenge Roadmap

Sustainable Aviation Fuel Review of Technical Pathways

Sustainable Aviation Fuel Tax Credit Analysis

  • U.S. Airport Infrastructure and Sustainable Aviation Fuel

Toward Net-Zero Sustainable Aviation Fuel With Wet Waste–Derived Volatile Fatty Acids

Port Authority of New York and New Jersey SAF Study

More Information

Learn more about SAF at the links below. The Alternative Fuels Data Center (AFDC) and DOE do not endorse any companies or services described on this site (see disclaimer ).

  • Commercial Aviation Alternative Fuels Initiative
  • The International Air Transit Association (IATA) SAF
  • MIT Greenhouse Gas Accounting Guidelines for Sustainable Aviation Fuel

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More Sustainable Aviation Fuel Data | All Maps & Data


  • Evaluation of Performance Variables to Accelerate the Deployment of Sustainable Aviation Fuels at a Regional Scale
  • Port Authority of New York and New Jersey Sustainable Aviation Fuel Logistics and Production Study

More Sustainable Aviation Fuel Publications | All Publications

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U.S. Launches Coalition for Climate Entrepreneurship Hub in Costa Rica

Actor matt damon’s tale of rescuing a cat in costa rica, costa rica’s holy week marred by deadly water-related incidents, happy easter from costa rica, costa rican specialists protest for better working conditions and salaries, panama papers trial begins: 27 accused of money laundering.

Tico Times

Twenty-seven people will be tried starting this Monday for the “Panama Papers” case, eight years after this scandal broke out, revealing how personalities from around the world allegedly hid money through the defunct Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca.

Among those being tried are the founders of this firm, Jürgen Mossack and Ramón Fonseca Mora, as well as other lawyers and former employees of the defunct firm, who are accused of money laundering.

The hearings will last until April 26 in a criminal court, according to the Judiciary, which specified in a statement that “the investigation consists of 528 volumes”, accumulating several thousand pages.

“The hearing is scheduled for 27 defendants for the alleged commission of the crime of money laundering,” it added. The trial was supposed to be held in 2021 but was delayed for various reasons.

Now, the hearing will begin eight years after the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists ( ICIJ ) reported on April 3, 2016, that personalities from around the world allegedly evaded taxes and laundered money through the Panamanian law firm.

The investigation, based on the leak of 11.5 million documents from the Mossack Fonseca firm, showed that heads of state and government, political leaders, personalities from finance, sports and the arts hid properties, companies, assets and profits.

To do this, they allegedly set up opaque companies in Panama to open bank accounts in other countries and create shell companies and foundations to hide money, in some cases from illicit activities.

The former leaders of Iceland, Sigmundur David Gunnlaugsson; Pakistan, Nawaz Sharif; Britain, David Cameron; and Argentina, Mauricio Macri; in addition to Argentine soccer star Lionel Messi and Spanish filmmaker Pedro Almodóvar were some of the names mentioned then.

Was there a crime?

Due to the scandal, the Mossack Fonseca firm had to close, while the country’s international image, accused of being a tax haven, was seriously affected. However, part of the current Panamanian legislation did not exist when the case broke out, which could make it difficult for the justice system to reach convictions.

“The crux of the matter is whether or not a crime was committed in Panama with the rules at the time,” said Carlos Barsallo, former president of the Panamanian section of Transparency International from 2019 to 2021.

According to Barsallo, in 2021 the Supreme Court exonerated an employee of Mossack Fonseca, indicating that her actions at the time were not a crime in Panama. “It can generate confusion and frustration in the international community that this is the result after so many years and so much news,” he added.

After the “Panama Papers” , the country made some legal reforms, which allowed it to leave the “gray list” of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) in 2023. The FATF, based in Paris, considered that Panama had made progress in the fight against money laundering and terrorist financing. However, Panama remains on the list of territories considered “tax havens” by the European Union.

“Eight years later, changes are taking place, but more actions are also required,” said Olga de Obaldía, executive director of Transparency International in Panama.

In 2023, Mossack and Fonseca were tried in Panama for alleged money laundering in Brazil’s “Lava Jato” case, where construction companies paid bribes to Latin American rulers and high-ranking officials to win contracts between 2005 and 2014. The prosecution requested up to 12 years in prison for both, but the sentence has not yet been made public.

“I consider myself responsible for having incorporated […] some 250,000 companies, of which a few have been mentioned here, very few, and which apparently may have been used for unlawful purposes by some end customers,” Fonseca said during the trial for the “Lava Jato” case.

Tico Times

Weekly Recap

Costa rica weekly news recap april 7, 2024: poas volcano, reforestation and the disabled.

Costa Rica Coffee Maker Chorreador

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Costa rica gears up for partial solar eclipse spectacle, john travolta thrills fans at panama film festival with “grease” screening, danielle collins continues winning streak with charleston open title, costa rica faces historic drop in renewable energy production, latin american nations unite in support of mexico after embassy assault in ecuador.

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    Benefits of Renewable Energy. Environmental and economic benefits of using renewable energy include: Generating energy that produces no greenhouse gas emissions from fossil fuels and reduces some types of air pollution. Diversifying energy supply and reducing dependence on imported fuels. Creating economic development and jobs in manufacturing ...

  23. [Pdf] Advantages and Disadvantages of Renewable Energy Sources

    Renewable energy sources are still not the predominant energy resource in the energy sector, although in certain developed countries they participate in a significant share in electricity generation. It is estimated that world energy consumption from renewable energy sources exceeds 20% at the present and continues to grow. Renewable energy sources appear as an additional source of energy in ...

  24. Energy and Economic Advantages of Using Solar Stills for Renewable

    The multi-generation systems with simultaneous production of power by renewable energy, in addition to polymer electrolyte membrane electrolyzer and fuel cell (PEMFC-PEMEC) energy storage, have become more and more popular over the past few years. The fresh water provision for PEMECs in such systems is taken into account as one of the main challenges for them, where conventional desalination ...

  25. Electric Vehicle Benefits and Considerations

    Energy Security. The United States became a net exporter of petroleum in 2020 with exports surpassing imports, although imports of 8.32 million barrels per day in 2022 remained an important part of balancing supply and demand for domestic and international markets. Overall, the transportation sector accounts for approximately 30% of total U.S. energy needs and 70% of U.S. petroleum consumption.

  26. Algeria's journey towards a green hydrogen future: Strategies for

    In pursuit of energy transition objectives, Algeria is increasingly focusing on the production and utilization of low-carbon and renewable hydrogen. While hydrogen has predominantly been used in the chemical and refining industries, it holds promise for decarbonizing specific industrial sectors, enabling electricity storage, and powering the transport sector. However, several barriers must be ...

  27. Sustainable Aviation Fuel

    The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) collects renewable fuel data as part of the Renewable Fuel Standard, which provides an approximate consumption for novel biofuels such as SAF. EPA's data show that approximately 5 million gallons of SAF were consumed in 2021, 15.84 million gallons in 2022, and 24.5 million gallons in 2023.

  28. Renewable energy financing by state investment banks: Evidence from

    While governments increasingly employ state investment banks (SIBs) to finance renewable energy projects, whether these institutions' actual behavior aligns with expectations remains uncertain. Here, we assess the predictors of SIB involvement in renewable energy deals in OECD countries using a fixed-effects logit model. Our results show greater SIB involvement in higher-risk technologies such ...

  29. LeapFrog Sees Impact Gains From Lower Clean-Energy Costs

    Leaders of impact-focused LeapFrog Investments said the declining costs of clean-energy technologies make it easier to convince investors it can produce financial returns along with benefits to ...

  30. Panama Papers Trial Begins: 27 Accused of Money Laundering

    The hearings will last until April 26 in a criminal court, according to the Judiciary, which specified in a statement that "the investigation consists of 528 volumes", accumulating several thousand pages. "The hearing is scheduled for 27 defendants for the alleged commission of the crime of money laundering," it added.