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Renewable energy, also know as ‘green energy’, is electricity that’s powered by natural sources such as the wind, water and sun.
Renewable energy offers a carbon-free alternative to traditional fossil fuels, and its use is growing here in Australia and overseas.
The development of technologies in the renewables space is allowing us to push the boundaries of where we can incorporate renewables into our every day lives. And while some of these technologies are yet to prove commercially viable, it's an exciting time. While we may not be ready to rely 100% on renewables, we are moving towards a more balanced future where solar, wind and hydro play a more central role.
Research and development in renewable energy is an exciting space, with new ideas being explored all the time. Below are some of the renewable energy sources that are currently used in Australia (to different degrees).
Energy from the sun is used in two ways: solar photovoltaic technology, which converts sunlight directly to electricity and solar thermal which converts sunlight to heat.
Uses energy from air flowing over the earth’s surface. The energy of the wind turns the blades of a turbine to generate electricity.
Uses energy from falling or flowing water to create electricity. Hydroelectric plants use the water to turn turbines and generate electricity.
Uses hot fluids extracted from underground to power steam turbines and generate electricity.
Uses gases from decaying plant or animal matter to power turbines to generate electricity. Common types of biomass include: wood waste, manure, landfill wastes and crop by-products such as sugarcane (bagasse).
Uses the power of waves and tides to turn turbines and generate electricity.