We obtain energy from two different kinds of sources. Back in the time, ironically, the first sources for energy generation were sun and wind. Those early uses were replaced with coal – in the Industrial Revolution – and later with gas. Coal could generate higher volumes of heat, powering machines and replacing manual work. These changes in the production of energy led to changes in the way of living, However, these increases in efficiency and production, came at a high environmental cost.
Source: Seagul via Pixabay
But how did this all happen?
Energy Early Stages
Energy has existed since the beginning of times. Energy generation was taken from direct sunlight, that produced heat and light. People used light to wake up and sleep, depended on wood and dung for heat, and water power to run primitive mills. 1.5M years ago, the first human lighted up fire. This first flame ignited what was going to be a huge revolution. By burning biomass – like wood – and generating really high temperatures, humans could create pottery tiles, bricks, cook their food, and much more.
Bronze and Iron age
In 3.200 B.C. the development of kilns allowed human beings to melt metal. This led to the smelting of materials such as copper and tin which latter created bronze. The mastering of this, fostered trade and agriculture. Later on, in 1.200 B.C. the smelting of iron and steel transformed civilization; allowing human beings to create sharper weapons, tools, and armor.
Water and wind, the old-new energy generation sources
In 300 B.C. the first water wheels were created to draw water from rivers an irrigate aqueducts. In 900 A.D. we found the first windmills, which allowed to capture wind to powder grains into flour.
Human-created energy generation started many years later, during the Industrial Revolution. The majority of people credit Benjamin Franklin with ‘discovering’ electricity in 1752, when he realized that the sparks created by lightning strikes could be used to produce electricity. Around the same time, coal started to be used to provide energy to tools and machines.
By 1769, James Watt patented the first coal-power engine, making them more powerful and efficient. About the same time, natural gas was discovered allowing Americans to have additional lightning in the evening, giving them an extended productivity.
From coal, to oil, to nuclear energy generation
War detonated the biggest advances in energy generation. During World War I, Wiston Churchill and the British Navy opted to replace steam-powered battleships with oil powered ones. This gave them a military advantage, because they were faster and easier to work with. Oil also helped fuel cars and other transportation means, making it one of the world’s most important commodity. Later on, it harnessed the production of plastic asphalt, commercial aviation and space travel.
World War II gave birth to the energy generation through nuclear power which later harnessed to boil water into steam, which could spin turbines to generate electricity.
Global warming and it’s relation to energy generation
More than 100 years ago, Svante Arrhenius, a Swedish chemist, discovered that humans could increase the greenhouse effect by producing carbon dioxide. Being him the catalyst of more than a siècle of research on understanding how human usage of fossil fuels can increase the emission of greenhouse gases.
Over the course of Earth’s history, greenhouse gases have fluctuated, however, for the last hundreds of years, there has been an exponential increase in greenhouse emissions. It has been linked to the constant burning of fossil fuels and other activities that have released large quantities of carbon dioxide, particularly in recent decades. Leading to rapid climate change and becoming a threat to different living beings.
So, now that we have some basic information about energy generation, let’s find the differences between the sources of energy.
Often referred as Non-renewable, brown or fossil-fueled energy. Comes from sources that will eventually run out or that are limited within the environment. Most of these energy generation sources can be found in fossil fuels, such as coal, petroleum, and natural gas. Fossil fuels are a significant energy source, they are easy to extract, can be packed, transported, or moved to barely every location on the planet. The ecosystem gets harmed when these fuels are burned, because they lead particles to be released into the air, water, and soil, making them polluted. The constant use of them has caused the carbon dioxide levels to increase, having major consequences on the environment.
3 benefits of using conventional energy
1. Reliable regardless of weather or location
Fossil fuels have been a reliable source of energy, they are reliable on day and night, summer, winter, sunshine or rain and have proven to be effective over time. Since the renewable energy relies merely on the current conditions, changes of light and heat of the sun; wind movement, geothermal heating or others.
2. Cheaper in the short term
The energy generation can be made bulk and the costs are low. It’s relatively easy to find it and to produce them, since the infrastructure is already built and running.
It’s not never-ending like renewable resources, but according to research, the longevity of the sources can vary greatly from: Coal up to 150 years, Oil up to 50 years and natural gas that is expected to last about 400 years.
On the other hand, renewable energy sources, are limitless energy sources present in nature, these resources do not need human intervention to exist. Our nation has abundant solar, water, wind, and geothermal energy resources, and many U.S. companies are developing, manufacturing, and installing cutting-edge, high-tech renewable energy generation, systems. These are present and naturally replenished. They will always be present in the ecosystem and can be used to generate electricity and energy in different forms.
5 benefits of using renewable energy
1. Environmentally friendly and sustainable
The energy generation through renewable sources doesn’t cause any direct greenhouse emissions. If it does it can be indirect, related to the construction or installation of the solar panels or wind turbines. Either way, the environmental cost/benefit is minimal.
2. Less pollution & better air quality
No need to be burnt – In general – the energy generation produces barely cero greenhouse emissions, leading to less air pollution.
3. It’s reliable in the long term
By being renewable energy sources, this means that they will never run out. There is no limit on their usage as they replenish naturally.
4. Prices relatively stable over time
The price of these energy sources remain stable in the long term because there are no fuel costs (and therefore no volatility!). Their operating costs are comparatively low in a long-term, the costs are the cost of the technology itself, and being there an interesting learning curve, the prices might be dropping as time goes by.
When produced, research has proven that less health risks are related to injury and death in these kinds of jobs than in fossil fuel related ones.
Now that you know the basics of energy generation, you can make a conscious decision to empower your energy. At Click 2 Power we want to offers you the opportunity to choose from different energy providers to control your monthly energy bills. You can also choose how your electricity is produced. By selecting the best offer plan from your energy providers with us, you will enjoy a fixed rate, the plan features, and service terms that best suit your lifestyle.