Renewable Energy

In keeping with AHSRA’s core mission of promoting sustainability, embracing renewable energy is just one part of the solution to creating a more sustainable planet. The definition of renewable energy according to the US Department of Energy is: “Energy derived from resources that are regenerative or for all practical purposes can not be depleted. Types of renewable energy resources include moving water (hydro, tidal and wave power), thermal gradients in ocean water, biomass, geothermal energy, solar energy, and wind energy. Municipal solid waste (MSW) is also considered to be a renewable energy resource.”


wind turbine fieldWind power captures the energy of air currents using turbine blades; as the blades rotate, electricity is generated. Constant innovations in wind technology have made this one of the most pervasive forms of renewable technology. Wind power ranges from large wind farms consisting of multiple turbines that are several stories high, to small wind systems that individuals can install in their backyards.


wind turbine fieldSolar power offers multiple applications, from powering traffic lights to heating water. Solar technologies include: photovoltaic cells which covert sunlight directly into useable energy; solar concentrators which use mirrors to focus the sun’s light and generate intense heat – turning water to steam and generating electricity in the process; and solar thermal heating devices such as solar water heaters and even solar ovens.


wind turbine fieldHydropower captures the energy generated by water’s movement and converts it into electricity. While hydro is the largest source of renewable energy in the U.S, it is controversial because of its impact on aquatic life. More environmentally friendly hydropower like low impact, small hydro, and micro hydro (those installations producing less than 20 megawatts of electricity) projects are considered by some as more environmentally sensitive and appropriate than traditional large-scale projects.


wind turbine fieldBiopower releases the energy trapped in organic material, or biomass. Biopower uses biomass energy to generate electricity. Biopower has diverse applications from diverse sources: from creating gas that is used to fire electric plants, to recycling cooking oil and using it to power buses and cars. Biopower applications include co-firing with coal, collecting methane and landfill gases and burning urban wood waste to generate electricity.


wind turbine fieldGeothermal power uses heat from below the earth’s surface to produce electricity or heat buildings and water systems. Geothermal power produces little to no air pollution and is extremely reliable during the lifetime of the power plant. Geothermal applications cover a range of use, from small-scale geothermal heat pumps used in homes, to large-scale power plants that provide electricity.


* Information taken from the Renewable Energy Policy Project website (