We could say that renewable energy resources are both the oldest and the most modern type of resources on the planet. People have used the light and heat from the sun, the wood for fire, the force of the wind to sail, the power of the water in flowing in rivers, but since when the man has become so interested in renewable energy as a modern resource?
As the conventional fuels gained popularity, the natural resources were considered “slow” and “inefficient” and people stopped using them. But once the oil crisis began to make itself comfortable in every part of the world, people have decided to return to origins and re-use the clean, inexhaustible types of energy ancient people used for thousands of years.
It is practically impossible to establish a clear timeline from the time people started renewable energy for transport, heat and lighting. But looking back in history, we could say our ancestors were way cleverer then we are today. And healthier, and also, they lived longer! Why say that? you should ask. Well, I say that because they used only natural, renewable resources for all their needs.
Alo read: how to built the ultimate green house.
They used the most of the solar light by building their houses in such way they could benefit the most of it. Moreover they sailed using wind power to boost the ships and they developed wind mill. Then, they figured out that water in river can boost easily a mill so they built water mills. For heating they used wood and other type of plants which were constant sources of bioenergy.
The progress of the use of these resources was pushed aside by the Industrial Revolution in the 18th century. Once the combustion engines were invented has increased the use of fossil fuels which at first were considered inexhaustible resources.
People started using “fast” cars, moved to the cities to work in large factories, many manufactured goods appeared, the communication and banking system became faster. The clean, quiet life of our grand, grand, grandparents disappeared almost overnight as the people were searching for a faster, easier way of living.
But slowly, in a few years (I would say too few) the fossil fuel resources started declining more and more and it was in the mid-70s that scientist began to panic and rethink the whole energy concept.
They started to emphasize the need of using green energy resources and living more environmentally friendly lifestyles. In these years, a turning point was marked in the history of renewable energy because of the need of having low or no contamination. At first, they were called “alternative energy”, because only the most daring people will try to use and develop some weird systems that would use the solar light for heating or the water for something more than transport.
History of solar energy
Solar energy itself exists since the sun has been giving light and heat to our planet, namely since millions and millions of years. Of course, we, the insignificant human beings have been using it for only thousands of years and it is only in the 20th century that we began using it properly (or such we think). We started with little experiments, with large magnifying glasses and mirrors to produce some kind of energy that melted metals.
But in order for us to speak about solar energy as we know it today, we have to speak first about solar panels. Who could invent such a system? If you think about it for a minute or two you could easily guess: it was Einstein, of course! Among thousands other things he discover the photoelectric effect, the key for solar panels use.
Today, these technologies are constantly changing and become more and more effective and accessible. Nowadays, having a solar array on your roof is a normal and recommendable think to do – and we can use these “projects” in order to develop and design Eco-Cities.
History of wind energy
As I told you earlier, our ancestors used wind power for transport and for windmills (which some people used to fight). But it was only in the 20th century that we finally figured out that wind power could turned into electricity. No, this time it was not Einstein.
It was an American named Charles Brush who invented the first wind turbine made of cedar wood and it generated 12 kW of power. Today, we have wind power plants floating offshore in the sea that could generate 3 GW of power, and this number is expected to reach a total of 75 GW worldwide by 2020.
The future is bright
Scientists haven’t stopped looking for new, innovative ways to use the renewable energy resources. Every other day somebody comes up with a new crazy idea that awaits implementations. Take a look at the newest inventions using renewable energy:
The spherical sun power generator
Tree shaped wind turbines
The Hydrobee: USB power from nature
Solar powered keyboards
I am sure you are curious to know more about this modern marvels, but I will tell you more about them in a future article.