YGA Journal | Article

Renewable Sources

The Renewable Revolution: Power for Tomorrow

Explore the critical role of solar power, wind power, hydropower, geothermal, and biomass energy sources! Learn about the challenges they face and the collaborative efforts needed for a cleaner, greener world. Discover how you can contribute by advocating for renewable energy policies, supporting green initiatives, and raising awareness in this enlightening article!


Published October 12, 2023

Written by Claire Wang

 From wildfires to floods to other extreme weather events, it is undeniable that fossil fuels have a crippling impact on our planet. Fossil fuels, such as coal and gas, are responsible for a staggering 75% of global greenhouse gas emissions and up to 90% of all carbon dioxide emissions (“Renewable Energy”). Moreover, beyond the environmental toll, fossil fuels have been linked to severe health issues such as heart attacks, respiratory disorders and cancer (Nadeau). As the finite nature of fossil fuels become increasingly evident, the growing relationship with renewable sources presents a hopeful future. 

There are five main types of renewable sources: wind energy, solar energy, hydro power, geothermal energy, and biomass. In order to achieve a planet that is healthy, liveable and clean, we must end our dependence on fossil fuels and shift towards these sustainable alternatives. 

Wind Power

Wind power is an inexhaustible, abundant and renewable energy source, harnessing kinetic energy using wind turbines (“What is Renewable Energy”). Wind power is a clean and powerful source of energy that helps avoid 329 million metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions each year. Wind power reduces greenhouse gas emissions and creates abundant job opportunities. As technologies advance, wind power becomes more efficient and cost-effective as it is one of the lowest-priced energy sources today. However, it’s worth noting that these turbines have posed a significant threat to bird and bat populations, resulting in fatalities (“Advantages and Challenges of Wind Energy” ). As such, the American Bird Conservancy has proposed the Bird-Smart Energy Program to promote better practices for wind energy. 

Solar Power

Harnessing the boundless energy of our nearest star, the Sun, solar power emerges as a shining beacon of hope. Solar power converts energy from sunlight into electrical energy in one of two methods: photovoltaic (PV) cells, or through concentrating solar-thermal power (CSP). The environmental benefits include reduced carbon emissions, decreased reliance on fossil fuels, and decreased air pollution. There is great potential for solar power as roughly 200,000 times the world’s total daily energy-generating capacity is received in the form of solar energy everyday. Moreover, the scalability and versatility of solar power make it accessible for households and industries alike, bringing energy independence and cost savings to millions. 

However, since ground-mounted PV and CSP will require the use of land, careful considerations will need to be made regarding land and material use in order to minimize the impact on wildlife (“Solar Energy”). 


This renewable source generates electricity by harnessing the energy of flowing water. Hydropower is great for many reasons: it’s a clean, renewable source, it’s cost-effective and reliable, and it can provide flood control, irrigation support and clean drinking water (“Benefits of Hydropower”). However, large-scale hydropower projects, especially those using dams, can have a profound impact on the environment as a dam and reservoir can result in loss of natural land, change in natural water temperature, and hydropower turbines can kill or injure fishes 

While hydropower offers a wealth of benefits, its environmental impact underscores the importance of responsible and sustainable practices in harnessing this valuable renewable resource.

Geothermal Energy

Found within the Earth’s interior, thermal energy provides another renewable alternative. Geothermal energy utilizes thermal energy by extracting heat with the help of geothermal reservoirs or other means. Geothermal power plants may release small amounts of carbon dioxide and sulfur dioxide, however, these amounts are significantly less than their fossil fuel counterparts. For perspective, geothermal power plants emit 99% less carbon dioxide than fossil fuel power plants, making them a much better alternative (“Geothermal Energy and the Environment”).


Biomass energy is produced from organic materials like wood, agricultural residues, and waste. This energy can be burned to create heat, converted into electricity, or processed into biofuel. Biomass has a strong potential to reduce greenhouse gasses as burning biomass releases nearly the same amount of energy as burning fossil fuels (Keller). 

How can you help?

The potential for a clean and healthy future lies within our grasp through the use of renewable resources. As we navigate through the harsh reality of climate change, sustainable practices are no longer just an option—it’s an imperative. Whether it’s installing solar photovoltaic panels on your roof, using energy efficient appliances, opting for eco-friendly transportation, choosing locally sourced food, or simply being mindful of your water usage, every action matters. It’s time to take charge of our future.


“Advantages and Challenges of Wind Energy.” Energy.Gov, U.S. Department of Energy, www.energy.gov/eere/wind/advantages-and-challenges-wind-energy.  Accessed 9 Sept. 2023.

“Benefits of Hydropower.” Energy.Gov, U.S. Department of Energy, www.energy.gov/eere/water/benefits-hydropower. Accessed 9 Sept. 2023.

“Geothermal Energy and the Environment.” U.S. Energy Information Administration, 27 Dec. 2022, www.eia.gov/energyexplained/geothermal/geothermal-energy-and-the-environment.php. 

“Hydropower and the Environment.” U.S. Energy Information Administration, 7 Nov. 2022, www.eia.gov/energyexplained/hydropower/hydropower-and-the-environment.php. 

Keller, Martin. “Biomass Energy Basics.” NREL.Gov, U.S. Department of Energy, www.nrel.gov/research/re-biomass.html. Accessed 9 Sept. 2023.

Nadeau, Kari. “Fossil Fuels & Health.” C-CHANGE | Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, The President and Fellows of Harvard College , 28 June 2022, www.hsph.harvard.edu/c-change/subtopics/fossil-fuels-health/?active_tab=1&articles_page=4&research_page=2. 

“Solar Energy, Wildlife, and the Environment” Energy.Gov, Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy, https://www.energy.gov/eere/solar/solar-energy-wildlife-and-environment. Accessed 8 Sept. 2023 

“What Is Renewable Energy?” United Nations, United Nations, www.un.org/en/climatechange/what-is-renewable-energy. Accessed 8 Sept. 2023.

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