Renewable energy, often referred to as clean energy , comes from natural sources or processes that are constantly replenished. For example, sunlight or wind keep shining and blowing, even if their availability depends on time and weather.
While renewable energy is often thought of as a new technology, harnessing nature’s power has long been used for heating, transportation, lighting, and more. Wind has powered boats to sail the seas and windmills to grind grain . The sun has provided warmth during the day and helped kindle fires to last into the evening. But over the past 500 years or so, humans increasingly turned to cheaper, dirtier energy sources such as coal and fracked gas.
Now that we have increasingly innovative and less-expensive ways to capture and retain wind and solar energy, renewables are becoming a more important power source. The expansion in renewables is also happening at scales large and small, from rooftop solar panels on homes that can sell power back to the grid to giant offshore wind farms. Even some entire rural communities rely on renewable energy for heating and lighting.
Nonrenewable, or “dirty,” energy includes fossil fuels such as oil, gas, and coal . Nonrenewable sources of energy are only available in limited amounts and take a long time to replenish.
Strengthen the students understanding of the science and engineering of the different sources of renewable and sustainable energy including solar energy, wind energy, geothermal energy and biomass energy.