Renewable energy resources are constantly replenished and will never be exhausted. Renewable energy relies upon ongoing natural cycles, such as sunshine, rain, or Earth’s internal heat, not stored fossil energy created over long periods of time.
The use of biomass is among the oldest and most diverse sources of renewable energy. Biomass can be used for generating electricity, transportation fuel, or space heating.
Geothermal energy utilizes the heat created and stored within the Earth. Direct use resources are generally classified as low temperature (<150°C) or high temperature (>150°C). Low temperature resources can range from the ambient temperature of the earth (~40-60°F) that is suitable for use by a ground source heat pump. Direct use resources can be utilized for space heating and limited electricity production.
Hydropower, or hydroelectric power, is power generated by the force of moving water, and makes up the vast majority of the United States’ current renewable energy power generation (66% of renewable energy and 6% of all electricity). Hydropower is driven by the water cycle, with solar energy driving evaporation, condensation, and gravity providing the renewable energy source. Learn more about how hydropower works from the Department of Energy.
Solar energy is one of the world’s most abundant energy sources. The sun’s energy is the source of nearly all renewable energy resources, including biomass (stored solar energy), wind energy (uneven solar heating), and hydroelectric (evaporation and gravity). Humans can also use solar energy by harnessing the sun’s rays directly. There are four main types of solar energy: concentrating solar power, solar electric (photovoltaics), solar thermal water and space heating, and passive solar design.
Wind energy is one of Wyoming’s most abundant renewable energy resources. Wyoming has a tremendous wind energy resource, ranking 8th in wind energy potential.