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Electrical power

Renewable energy

A wind farm in Aragon, Spain A wind farm in Aragon, Spain Renewable energy comes from natural resources that are constantly replenished. These resources include rivers, oceans, wind, sunlight, geothermal heat and biomass (material from living organisms such as plants and algae). Unlike fossil fuels—coal, oil and natural gasrenewable energy resources will not be used up within humanity’s foreseeable future. Renewable energies are sometimes called alternative energies, as they are alternatives to fossil fuels. Nuclear power is not currently classified as a renewable energy because it needs a supply of uranium, which is not naturally renewed. Renewable energies are used for generating electricity, heating of buildings and water, cooking, vehicle fuel and off-grid energy for rural homes that are not connected to the electricity grid.

A coal-fired power station A coal-fired power station

Why turn to renewable energy?

The burning of fossil fuels in power stations and vehicles releases carbon dioxide into the air. This is a greenhouse gas that contributes to global warming. Burning fossil fuels also releases other pollutants, leading to acid rain and smog. Many people are also concerned by the radioactive waste created by nuclear power.

Biofuels currently supply about 5% of the world’s transport fuel. It is estimated that biofuels will supply more than a quarter by 2050.

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