What is Renewable Energy?
All the energy we use comes from the earth. The electricity we use every day doesn’t come directly from the earth, but we make electricity using the earth’s resources, like coal or natural gas.
Both coal and natural gas are called “fossil fuels” because they were formed deep under the earth during dinosaur times.
The problem is that fossil fuels can’t be replaced – once we use them up, they’re gone forever. Another problem is that fossil fuels can cause pollution.
Renewable energy is made from resources that Mother Nature will replace, like wind, water and sunshine.
Renewable energy is also called “clean energy” or “green power” because it doesn’t pollute the air or the water.
Why don’t we use renewable energy all the time?
Unlike natural gas and coal, we can’t store up wind and sunshine to use whenever we need to make more electricity. If the wind doesn’t blow or the sun hides behind clouds, there wouldn’t be enough power for everyone.
Another reason we use fossil fuels like coal and natural gas is because they’re cheaper. It costs more money to make electricity from wind, and most people aren’t willing to pay more on their monthly utility bills.
Using the wind to create electricity has been around for a long time, you’ve probably seen windmills on farms. When the wind turns the blades of a windmill, it spins a turbine inside a small generator to produce electricity, just like a big coal power plant.
A windmill on a farm can make only a small amount of electricity, enough to power a few farm machines. To make enough electricity to serve lots of people, power companies build “wind farms” with dozens wind turbines.
Wind farms are built in flat, open areas where the wind blows at least 14 miles per hour.