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What is Renewable Energy?

All the energy we use comes from the earth. The electricity we use every day doesn't come directly from the earth, but we make electricity using the earth's resources, like coal or natural gas.

Both coal and natural gas are called "fossil fuels" because they were formed deep under the earth during dinosaur times.

The problem is that fossil fuels can't be replaced - once we use them up, they're gone forever. Another problem is that fossil fuels can cause pollution.

Renewable energy is made from resources that Mother Nature will replace, like wind, water and sunshine.

Renewable energy is also called "clean energy" or "green power" because it doesn't pollute the air or the water.

Why don't we use renewable energy all the time?

Unlike natural gas and coal, we can't store up wind and sunshine to use whenever we need to make more electricity. If the wind doesn't blow or the sun hides behind clouds, there wouldn't be enough power for everyone.

Another reason we use fossil fuels like coal and natural gas is because they're cheaper. It costs more money to make electricity from wind, and most people aren't willing to pay more on their monthly utility bills.

Where does renewable energy come from?

Wind
Like the propeller blades of an airplane, wind turbine blades use the moving air to power an electric generator that supplies an electric current.

Biomass
Power companies like Alliant Energy are also working with customers to find new ways to make electricity, from crops like switchgrass and even from cow poop!

Solar
Have you ever used a magnifying glass to make something melt or burn? If yes, than you were using solar power!

Hydro
Hydro means "water" in Greek - so "hydro power" is energy made from water.

Geothermal
Have you ever seen pictures of a volcano or a geyser? If so, then you've seen geothermal energy in action!

The more we use renewable energy, the better off our environment will be!