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What Is Renewable Energy And How Is It Changing The Electricity Industry

While you may have heard a lot about it, do you really understand what renewable energy is and how it is changing the energy industry? The energy industry in Australia and around the world is undergoing a transformative and complex shift from fossil fuels to renewable energy.

To understand why, we need to understand the difference between these competing energy sources.

Understanding Non-Renewables

The momentum behind the demand for renewable energy can be explained by the problem that is posed by non-renewable fossil fuels.

Australia has historically relied on fossil fuels, like gas and coal, to generate our electricity. Still today, non-renewable energy accounts for roughly 80% of Australia’s electricity generation.

However, these fossil fuels are finite, which means they will eventually run out. And in the process of burning these fuels to generate electricity, we contribute to greenhouse gas emissions which have a damaging impact on our environment.

This has led to demand for eco-friendly and long-lasting alternative energy solutions.

What Is Renewable Energy?

Renewable energy is produced using natural resources that are nearly always available in some form. Wind energy is the largest contributor to renewable energy generation in Australia, followed closely by hydropower and then solar power.

Electricity generated from these natural sources can be stored in batteries to use at times when, for example, the sun is not shining or the wind is not blowing.

Renewable energy has a smaller impact on the environment and can be used without worrying about depleting resources. This makes it a cleaner and more sustainable energy option.

How Wind Energy Works

Wind energy is generated from converting the wind’s kinetic energy into electricity. This is achieved when the wind spins the blades of the wind turbine around a rotor, which in turn spins a generator and creates electricity.

Australia has some of the world’s best wind resources, making wind energy our most popular method of generating renewable energy. Wind energy contributes a 34% share of our renewable energy generation.

How Hydropower Works

Hydropower generates electricity from the force of falling water. Similar to wind energy, the pressure from the water turns a turbine, which converts kinetic energy into electricity.

The greatest advantage behind hydropower is that, unlike wind and solar, it is not dependent on weather conditions. Instead, hydropower can be produced in hydropower plants 24/7, all year round.

Until recently, hydropower was Australia’s main contributor of renewable energy. In the year 2000, hydropower contributed to about 95% of our renewable energy whilst today its contribution is just 31%.

How Solar Power Works

Solar power works by converting the sun’s energy into electricity through a process known as the photovoltaic effect.

This energy is captured through solar panels. However, this can prove difficult at times of the day when there is little sunlight or none at all.

About 29% of Australia’s renewable electricity is sourced from solar power.

Should You Make The Switch To Clean Energy?

Installing a solar system in your home or switching to a renewable energy provider could be a great idea. It can lead to long-term savings and is also an investment in a greener, more sustainable future.

If you want to convert to renewables (even partly), the team at Compare & Connect can help you review your options and find the very best deal for you. The time-consuming process of comparing plans among providers and considering how they suit your needs can be trimmed down to just minutes.

Find out how we can help you save money whilst securing an energy plan that suits your needs.

Sally Writes 03 Nov 2020