Renewable energy is energy derived from natural processes that are replenished at a rate that is equal to or faster than the rate at which they are consumed. There are various forms of renewable energy which include solar, wind, geothermal, hydropower and ocean resources, solid biomass, biogas and liquid biofuels. As interest in renewable energy continues to increase, a wide range of advanced energy-producing technologies and equipment are being developed.
Many tourist camps operating in remote areas generate their own electricity, often with diesel generators. Rising fuel costs, noise and a desire to have a lower environmental footprint have caused many operators to consider renewable energy sources such as wind or solar power.
Types of Renewable Energy
The natural flow of water in rivers offers kinetic power that can be transformed into usable energy. To produce hydroelectricity, the flow is directed to blades of a turbine. The rushing water makes it spin, which in turn mades the electrical generator connected to the turbine spin as well which generates electricity. The amount of electricity generated depends on the volume and speed of the water.
Bioenergy comprises different forms of usable energy obtained from materials referred to as biomass. Biomass is biological material in solid, liquid or gaseous form that has stored sunlight in the form of chemical energy. The most commonly used type of biomass is wood (round wood or wood waste from industrial activities). Wood and wood waste can be combusted to produce heat used for industrial purposes, for space and water heating, or to produce steam for electricity generation.
The kinetic energy in wind can be converted into electricity using turbines with large propellers. Often, these structures are installed in strategic areas that have good wind regimes and that are in proximity to existing electrical grids. Wind energy is captured only when the wind speed is sufficient to move the turbine blades, but not in high winds when the turbine might be damaged if operated.
Solar energy is energy from the sun in the form of radiated heat and light. The sun’s radiant energy can be used to provide lighting and heat for buildings and to produce electricity. By combining strategic placement of windows and overhangs, along with solar technologies, an individual can take advantage of the sun's radiant energy to save on heating and lighting costs.
There are two types of solar technologies:
- Solar collectors or panels that are used to heat water or ventilation air for use in buildings.
- Solar photovoltaic technology which uses solar cells to convert sunlight directly into electricity.
Geothermal energy can be captured from the heat stored beneath the earth’s surface or from the absorbed heat in the atmosphere and oceans. In the first instance, geothermal energy can be captured from naturally occurring underground steam and be used to produce electricity. In the second instance, heating and cooling can be achieved by taking advantage of the temperature differential between outside air and the ground or groundwater.
Opportunities for Lodges:
The most feasible and cost effective renewable energy intiatives available to lodges are solar and wind. However, lodges may consider other options.
Solar: By installing solar panels on rooftops or on the ground in sunny areas, lodges can generate electricity. The installation of a solar system is relatively quick and the payback can happen as quick as 5 years after installation.
Wind: Some lodges may be able to take advantage of wind energy. This would depend if the lodge is located in a windy area. As wind technology keeps developing, it will only be cheaper to build a wind farm in the future.
Bio Fuels: Some operators may be able to take advantage of burning wood and other organic wastes for heat and energy.
Hydroelectric: Some operators may be able to install and take advantage of a microhydropower system on their property, although these systems can be very costly to install and invasive.
Please visit the following sites regularly as new funding opportunities may arise at any time.