What is renewable energy?

Renewable energy is made from resources that 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.

solar panels and wind turbines

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

If the wind doesn't blow or the sun hides behind clouds, there may not 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 or sun. Having many energy sources to choose from, which we call a diverse energy mix, helps us balance keeping the lights on, costs, and being environmentally-friendly.

Alliant Energy is starting to install giant batteries (like the one shown below) to store up power from the wind and sun to use later on. As this technology improves, we will be able to rely more on solar and wind energy even if it's not sunny or windy!

solar battery in Marshalltown, Iowa

Where does renewable energy come from?

Renewable energy sources are all around us. It is in the wind that blows, the shining sun, the flowing water and even the growing grass. We interact with sources of renewable energy every day. Let’s dig a little deeper and see what that’s all about.