The History of Renewable Energy - Just How Far Have We Come?

Posted by Crown Battery on Nov 6, 2017 2:12:00 PM


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Being “green,” or environmentally friendly, may seem like just another trend that has been getting attention from businesses and individuals alike. While it’s true that renewable energy has made huge advances since the early 2000s, it’s actually nothing new. Human civilization and renewable energy have developed hand in hand since early humans learned to control fire, and it is this deep history that we have to build on as we move into a cleaner, greener future.

Early Renewable Energy

When humans first harnessed fire for light and heat, they were using renewable energy. While it’s certainly not the first thing that comes to mind when we think of renewable energy, burning wood, scrub, leaves, and animal matter is a source of energy known as biomass, and as long as plants, trees, and animals continue to grow and reproduce, it qualifies as renewable. Compared to the technology - and increased energy usage - we have today, biomass is considered quite inefficient, but the fact that man’s first use of an external source of energy was from a renewable source shows how deeply we are connected to the natural world.

There are many other examples of renewable energy spanning human history. Water wheels, used to grind grain and later to cut lumber, were used as early as 200 BCE, and windmills developed for the same purpose in both Europe and Asia almost one thousand years later. In many areas of the world, wind power became inseparable from domesticated farming because it could be used to pump water from underground and grind wheat and other crops into valuable flour or meal. Wind also powered global exploration and trade in the sails of large, seafaring ships. While not usually associated with renewable energy in conversation nowadays, humans have sourced power from renewable sources throughout history.

The Move to Nonrenewable

In the mid- to late-1600s, coal became widely regarded as a cheap and efficient source of power, and mining efforts rose dramatically. Coal’s ability to burn quickly, and at high temperatures, spurred the beginning of the Industrial Revolution first in 1760s Europe, then in North America. One of the problems with coal, as many rising industrial centers soon found out, is that it is dirty, sooty, and can pollute the air and make it dangerous to breathe. But the innovation and demand for energy of the Industrial Revolution had kickstarted the search for more sources of energy. In 1870, some thirty years after the end of the Industrial Revolution, John D. Rockefeller formed Standard Oil, and the rest, they say, is history.

Resurgence of Clean Energy

There’s a reason that there has been an increased interest in renewable energy - our sources of oil, gas, and coal are running out. The difference between renewable energy and nonrenewable energy is that, as their names imply, we can always rely on renewable energy being available. In addition, many climate studies have shown that the rate at which we consume energy from nonrenewable sources is contributing directly to global warming. With technologies such as solar farms, wind turbines, and geothermal energy becoming cheaper and more advanced, it’s time to begin moving to a post-oil world.


Crown believes in a future powered by renewable energy. With our renewable batteries that store energy from solar and wind power generators, we are working towards a world with a clean energy grid. We have a complete and dedicated array of RE batteries so that you can always find what you need for your renewable energy system. See how Crown Battery is committed to a proactive approach to clean energy, and how you can be too: