Sources of clean energy don’t emit carbon dioxide or they emit just a little. There are several sources of clean energy such as hydroelectricity, bioenergy, and wind energy. These just name a few in what we learned at school.
What Is Clean Energy and Why Do We Need It?
As mentioned above, clean energy is a source of energy that has little or no carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions.
Australia has some of the world’s best clean energy sources and many of these sources are sending power to home today. Clean energy sources such as solar power and wind power have the ability to meet the growing power needs in Australia without adding to the greenhouse gas emissions in the air.
Have you ever wondered why we need clean energy? If the people of Australia don’t change the type of energy that we use, there is a risk of suffering the harmful effects of climate change. Today, about 50 percent of Australia’s greenhouse gases occur in the stationary sector. This includes the generation of electricity, fuels that are consumed in manufacturing, commercial and construction, and domestic power such has power for heating and cooling. If we are going to make a change and protect the environment, clean energy education is important so that we can make a change.
Being Energy Efficient
Energy efficiency means reducing the amount of energy that we demand and use. If we use energy efficiently, we can cut the greenhouse gas emissions by up to 80 percent by the year 2030. Each year, the average home in Australia is responsible for generating over 7 tonnes of emissions. By making small changes in how you use or don’t use energy, it can have a major impact on reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
Being energy efficient is not as difficult as you may think. It can be as simple as:
• Changing to low-energy light globes
• Always turning off appliances at the point of power
• Buying products that are produced or grown locally
• Reusing or recycling items
• Leave the car at home and walk or ride a bike to your destination
• Use the sun’s natural energy to dry your clothes or to keep you warm
• Take on bigger projects such as installing solar water heaters, installing insulation at the home, plant trees or install window blinds to provide shad to the home on hot days, and connect the home to a clean energy source.
Types Of Clean Energy
A wind turbine is used to capture the energy of the wind. It is then converted to electricity in the following way:
The force of wind is what causes the blades of the turbine to turn. The turning motion is transferred into a gearbox through a generator. This generator can produce energy which is then fed though a transformer to a substation. A wind far is a group of wind turbines that are located together. Wind farms are most effective in areas that have strong, consistent winds. Some of the best places in the world for wind farms are right in Southern Australia.
Solar Photovoltaic Power
Solar photovoltaic (PV) are the panels that you see installed on the rooftops of homes and businesses. When you install solar PV on your home, it is like having a mini power station on your roof. If can actually supply power to your home without needed to be connected to the electricity grid. This is especially beneficial for homes and businesses in remote areas. Of all the continents in the world, Australia has the highest average of solar radiation. Because of this, Australia could be the leader in solar energy generation.
Solar thermal involves generating electricity using the energy from the sun. Large, polished mirrors are used that are capable of reflecting the sun’s rays to heat a liquid. This would crate steam which spins a turbine and then powers a generator to produce electricity.
Passive thermal energy is another form of solar thermal energy. This is when you use the heat from the sun to dry your clothes or to warm up when the weather is cold.
Solar Water Heating
Solar water heating uses the energy of the sun to heat up the water. Solar water heaters contain a tank for water storage as well as solar panels that are fitted onto the roof of the home. The cold water would flow into the inlet on the top of the heating panels. The panels are clean and flat and they act like a solar oven. They trap the sun’s rays between the layers. When the water passes through the tubes located under the panels, it is heated. This results in hot water flowing to the storage tank. Even if you live in the coldest parts of Australia, solar energy can provide up to 80 percent of the energy needed to heat the water.
Hydroelectricity produces energy using the energy of flowing water though a hydroelectric power station. A turbine is spun using the force of flowing water. This operates a generator to produce electricity.
Bioenergy is a form of energy such as electricity or thermal energy that is produced using organic matter or biomass. There re plenty of ways to capture the energy that is produced using biomass. Organic matter, such as sugar cane, can be burned. This can collect the gas that is released. It can be sued to run a generator which will produce electricity.
This form of energy is carbon neutral, which means that the amount of carbon dioxide that is released into the air. The waste that is burned is the same as the amount of CO2 and the sugar cane will absorb it when it grows. This is great for the environment.
There re special granite rocks that are located deep below the Earth’s surface. The heat is trapped in layers of insulating sedimentary rocks. Electricity can be generated using this naturally occurring heat. To access this heat, wells are drilled into the Earth about 3 to 5 kilometers deep. Water is then pumped into wells and through the cracks that are created in the rocks. The heat of the rocks causes the water to heat up to the point that it turns into steam. This can turn a turbine, which will produce energy. The steam is then condensed back into water so that it can be used again.
Ocean powers uses the tides and to ocean waves to generate electricity. To generate electricity, on the sea floor, a device with floats is mounted. The floats move back and forth with the natural movements of the water in the ocean. This is what powers a motor that produces energy.
Clean Energy Fast Facts
• In 2009, the use of wind energy has saved over 4 million tonnes of CO2 from entering the atmosphere in Australia. This is the equivalent of taking 950,000 cars off the road.
• There are many phone boxes in rural areas that have solar panels on top. These are very common today.
• Hydroelectric power stations are what delivers the majority of Australia’s renewable energy. There are over 100 hydroelectric stations around the country.
• Using biomass to create energy is not a new idea. People have been using animal waste and crop waste to cook their food and heat their homes for thousands of years.
• The best zero-emission electricity source is geothermal power. One megawatt hour of this type of electricity prevents about 1 tonne of CO2 from being released into the air.
• The temperature difference in the ocean is capable of producing energy. The steam on the water surface can be passed though a turbine generator, which can create electricity.