Renewable and Alternative Energy
By Russ Kuhn, MAML University Development Counselor
Grand Canyon University, Medford
The coach is in
Renewable and alternative energy sources have been a popular topic of conversation over the past few years. Politicians, environmental scientists and activists alike have been urging the public to embrace them in an effort to save our planet. While most people have heard about their benefits, not all can distinguish their differences. Renewable energy occurs naturally and replenishes without human interference. The two main types of renewable energy sources, solar energy and wind energy, are infinite in supply. According to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), “More energy from the sun falls on the earth in one hour than is used by everyone in the world in one year,” and the large quantity is just one reason people have been using solar energy to their advantage for thousands of year. Throughout history, solar energy has been used to heat homes, power electronic devices and grow crops. Wind energy, on the other hand, has become much more advanced in recent years. Today, we use wind energy to turn large wind turbine’s blades. These wind turbines then feed an electric generator and ultimately produce electricity. While wind energy may not be quite as common as solar energy, it has become the cheapest energy source in certain parts of the country.
About the Author:
Russ Kuhn is a University Development Counselor at Grand Canyon University. Kuhn brings more than 30 years of global leadership experience to the Rogue Valley as the Medford-based UDC. He serves as the local face and brand ambassador to support GCU’s mission and help students start their educational journey.

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Unlike renewable energy, alternative energy does not occur naturally or replenish. Two examples of alternative energy sources are geothermal and hydroelectric power. Geothermal power is created when energy is extracted from the ground beneath us. This form of alternative energy has grown in popularity over the years, with the geothermal power sector experiencing 5% growth in 2015. Hydroelectric power, often seen in dams, generates electricity by harnessing the power of water’s motion. Renewable and alternative energy sources have become such a pivotal part of our future that the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) recently announced that they selected 35 projects, with the goal of bettering bioenergy research and development. These projects, which cost $73 million in total, will be funded through the DOE’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy. The hope is that through these projects, the DOE will be able to reduce the price of drop-in biofuels and lower the cost of bio power, ultimately bettering our planet.
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