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Alternative energies, what are they and what types exist?

Energías alternativas

Alternative energies stand as the great hope for decarbonizing our economy and supporting the ecological transition

Over the past decades, we have been witnessing a total revolution in the energy world thanks to the emergence of alternative energies. These energy sources differ from traditional ones by generating electrical energy from clean, green, or renewable sources through sustainable exploitation of various natural resources. Their major advantage lies in the low impact they have on our environments, particularly in terms of atmospheric pollution and degradation of natural resources, compared to traditional energy sources based on hydrocarbons—predominant during the late 19th and entire 20th centuries—such as coal or oil. Notably, these types of energy generation saw a boom in the late 1990s and early 2000s, emerging as allies in a crucial moment of the climate crisis.

While within the extensive list of alternative energies, there are some less widespread sources due to their youth or technological complexity, predominant ones—such as wind or photovoltaic—are displacing fossil fuels robustly due to profound technological development and subsequent reduction in installation and maintenance costs. This makes this type of green generation a more competitive option than traditional sources. One of the significant competitive advantages of this generation type is its utilization of a wide variety of inexhaustible sources from which to extract energy, challenging the exploitation of resources.

Let’s see what types exist.

Types of alternative energies

Alternative energies, what types are there?

Solar: Harnesses solar radiation through the use of photovoltaic panels to generate electricity for distribution or for thermal purposes to heat water or air.

Wind: Utilizes the force of wind, on land or at sea, and its movement to rotate the blades of wind turbines (commonly called windmills) to spin a generator that produces electrical energy for distribution to the grid.

Hydroelectric: Converts the energy from the movement of water through channels and natural (rivers or waterfalls) or artificial (reservoirs) dams to generate electricity by passing through hydraulic turbines.

Tidal: Similar to hydroelectricity, but it focuses on capturing energy from tides and ocean currents in coastal areas, generating electricity from their fluctuations.

Biomass: Reuses waste such as agricultural, urban, or forest residues to produce energy either by combustion or conversion into biofuel materials.

Biogas: Utilizes the decomposition phase of organic materials (mainly organic waste, agricultural, vegetable, or animal) to generate biogas for subsequent use as an energy source.

Geothermal: Uses the heat generated by the Earth’s core to transform thermal energy into electrical energy or channel it through heating systems.

Present and future of electrical generation

Due to their sustainability, inexhaustibility, and increasingly powerful competitive advantage compared to other less innovative and polluting energies, alternative sources have become the present and future of the energy transition. Their integration through a generation, distribution, and electricity transport network, adapted to the new multipoint generation reality and its requirements, alongside their storage in battery systems, will be part of the formula for success in a greener future.

Would you like to learn more about integrating alternative energy projects into the electrical grid? Get in touch with us:

    ormazabal@ormazabal.com

    Parque Científico y Tecnológico de Bizkaia, Edf. 104, 48170 Zamudio (Bizkaia) España

    +34 94 431 77 77