Green Electricity: The Environmentally Friendly Energy
Green, clean and renewable energy are the solution to the warming climate. Climate change is caused by the human factor and the way we generate energy. If we manage to switch the way we generate electricity to clean energy sources, we can help the environment and create millions of jobs for the changing economy.
Green energy is the best way to power your household, your business, and even your car. Green energy comes from green energy sources, such as sun, wind, hydro, and other sources that release no or very few pollutants. This is the biggest difference between renewable energy and conventional ways of producing energy – no pollution.
What is Green Energy?
Green energy is any energy that comes from an energy source that does not pollute. A green energy source can be the sun, the wind, the kinetic energy of the moving water, and nuclear and biomass energy. With the advent of new technologies, the efficiency of these energy sources has significantly increased. Currently, wind power and solar energy are cheaper to produce than coal or natural gas energy.
What makes an Energy Source Green?
An energy source is green if it produces little to no greenhouse gases. Conventional ways of producing energy include burning coal, oil, or natural gas. In doing so, huge amounts of carbon dioxide are released into the atmosphere, and these energy sources are considered not green at all. Green energy sources, on the other hand, are energy sources that release no greenhouse gases. They produce energy in such a way that the environment is not harmed.
Difference Between Green Energy, Clean Energy, & Renewable Energy
Green energy, clean energy, and renewable energy are all different notions that are often used interchangeably. They all stand for energy sources that pollute very little or not at all, and in this regard, they are a much better alternative to conventional ways of energy generation. However, it is important to understand the difference between clean, renewable, and green energy.
Clean energy is any energy source that does not pollute or pollute very little. A great example of clean energy is nuclear: nuclear energy releases no pollutants into the air. There is also very little residue or toxic, radioactive waste. Some people express concern about the possible consequences of storing that much nuclear waste, as it may leak or endanger the environment and health. However, properly managed nuclear waste poses no threat and is produced in small quantities.
Nature can replenish renewable energy sources in a short time, such as a year or even a decade. Renewable energy is not the same as green energy because there is some pollution that is released. Renewable energy is considered to be net-zero when it comes to carbon emissions.
When producing renewable energy from renewable energy sources, some greenhouse gases get released. In most cases, the CO2 or carbon dioxide released is the same carbon dioxide that the plants absorbed during the vegetative period. This way of producing energy does not introduce new carbon into the atmosphere. Renewable sources are biomass, biogas, and wood.
What is green energy? Green or renewable energy is any energy that releases no carbon dioxide and makes no other greenhouse emissions. When we generate electricity from green energy sources, we use existing infrastructure to produce electricity from sun, wind, hydro, and geothermal. Power generation from green energy sources is cleaner than energy coming from renewable sources, and it is currently the cleanest way to produce electricity.
How Does it Work?
Green energy sources are used to produce electricity with zero emissions. In this regard, they are the cleanest energy source there is. Solar panels produce power by converting sunlight, wind turbines utilized the wind to produce energy or the kinetic energy of water into energy that we can use. They rely on natural sources, such as wind and solar, and besides installation, demand very little maintenance.
Types of Green Energy
There are six basic types of renewable energy, depending on the energy source used. These are solar energy, wind energy, hydroelectric energy, geothermal energy, biomass, and biofuels. Read on to find out more about these energy sources.
Solar energy is energy that is obtained by capturing sunlight and converting it into heat or electricity. Solar power is one of the revolutionary ways to generate power, and the sun is one of the cleanest energy sources. Two basic technologies enable us to use solar power to create energy for powering houses, industry, and even transportation.
Solar PV modules or solar photovoltaic modules make electricity when they are exposed to direct sunlight. When they create energy, photons that light consists of hit the electrons in the solar cells and excite them. Electrons are then released and can start their journey through the power grid.
Another way solar is used for generating electricity is in concentrated solar arrays. These arrays use concentrated sunlight to heat and melt salt and other mediums. The mediums are then used to evaporate water, which spins turbines. This is how electricity is created. The biggest advantage of concentrated solar is energy production that can extend hours after the sun has set.
Solar collectors can often be seen on rooftops in the suburbia, where they are used to heat water for residential use and heat buildings. In these systems, usable energy is not created as electricity but rather as heat that can be delivered where it is needed. This is a great way to have free hot water year-round.
Solar energy is the most abundant energy source there is. Solar panels in California produce around 25% of the state’s energy needs, and solar panels in Texas are on the way to becoming the biggest energy producer. The UK plans to build huge solar panel systems in Morocco and bring it to the Isles by underwater cables, as Singapore is doing the same in the Australian outback. Solar is the future.
Wind energy generation is the second most abundant and most widely used form of green energy supply. Large wind turbines are installed on the outskirts of cities. These wind turbines convert wind power into electricity that is then used to power homes and businesses. The wind energy is naturally replenished, so no pollution is created.
Offshore wind farms are the largest projects there are, and they can power entire countries. Wind turbines come in entire parks or wind turbine farms. They work together to create massive outputs of energy.
HydroElectric Energy comes in the form of large dams with utility-scale turbines for green energy production. Another common form of hydroelectric energy is micro hydropower plants, usually built on streams and smaller rivers.
In large-scale hydroelectric plants, people erect dams to hold water coming from large rivers. The water is then released in a controlled way and is forced to run over turbines. The turbines spin and energy is created. This was the first alternative to fossil fuels.
Micro hydropower plants are small-scale solutions to use small rivers and streams as energy resources. A part of the water flow is diverted over a horizontal or a vertical turbine or through Archimedes’ screw to spin the turbine and create electricity. Depending on your energy needs, they can power bigger homesteads or even a few households.
Geothermal energy is another way to use renewable resources to produce energy. In geothermal, energy in the form of thermal energy or heat is brought from deep in the Earth’s crust to the surface, where it is used to spin turbines and create electricity. Alternatively, we can use this source of energy to heat buildings and residences.
You can bring geothermal energy from the depths of many hundreds of yards, or it can be stored during summertime for use in the winter. In the latter case, geothermal is an inexpensive way to heat your house, as the only energy used is a pump that brings hot water from solar collectors to the soils under your yard.
Biomass power plants are another way to generate electricity. Electricity generated in these power plants is considered renewable since it comes from natural resources. Biomass is collected, dried, and then burned to create heat used to power wind turbines. Modern renewable energy projects prefer turning biomass into biofuels instead.
Biofuel is another popular renewable energy source. When using this energy source, biomass is placed in huge tanks called anaerobic digesters. Once they are full, water is introduced as well, and the natural breakdown process begins. During this process, some heat is released as well as methane which is purified and compressed.
This methane is then further used to produce electricity. It can also be used as biogas to heat homes and buildings. Renewable energy use from biofuels can also be used to power vehicles. Considering how much pollution comes from transportation, biofuels are as important in mitigating climate change as photovoltaic cells, ocean energy, and nuclear power. Air pollution does get released, but the carbon is recycled instead of pulled from the Earth’s crust.
The Importance of Green Energy
The importance of green energy is difficult to overestimate. Green energy creates a world with no pollution, no weather extremes, and fewer climate change-caused deaths. Every green energy source also creates many green jobs, as green power is in high demand. Solar farms, wind farms, and biofuel all work hard to save us money and provide economic benefits that cheap energy can make a reality.
Main Benefits of Green Energy
The main benefits of Green energy are:
- No or less pollution than before,
- More jobs are created,
- Climate change can be halted,
- Natural resources are preserved,
- Fossil fuel deposits remain underground, where they belong,
- Environmental damage is controlled and even reversed.
Drawbacks of Green Energy
Green energy also has some minor drawbacks:
- Insistence on green energy makes some jobs disappear, such as those in generating energy from traditional sources,
- An amount of greenhouse gas emissions is created when making solar panels, turbines, etc.,
- Some damage to the environment is done in clearing the land for solar arrays or wind farms,
- With cheaper energy, energy consumption can increase as well, leading to more energy produced from traditional sources,
- Green power is difficult to store – we need a lot of energy stored to last through days with no sunshine or wind.
Environmental Impact of Green Energy
There are real benefits to the environment, as green energy relies solely on renewable energy sources to produce electricity used to power appliances, heat, and cool buildings and power vehicles. With no CO2 released, renewable energy does not pollute and is kind to the environment. No new mines are necessary, and forests are preserved since no land needs to be cleared for the wood to be burned and new mines to be opened.
Application of Green Energy Today
Green energy today has many possible applications. You can use it to heat and cool buildings and houses and power industrial machinery and passenger vehicles. There are even EVs for long-haul transportation of goods.
Heating & Cooling Buildings/Houses
Renewable energy such as sun, wind power, and biofuels are used for heating and cooling buildings. They can be used as a sole power source or combined with other green technologies such as heat pumps to boost the green effect. Renewables can be used in small homes, off-grid households, as well as large buildings.
Green energy has found its place in the industry as well. The best examples are Google and Tesla, both of which run on renewables yet represent some of the biggest providers and producers in the country. IKEA and many other companies are increasingly switching to solar to power their factories and stores.
The rise of EVs has paved the way to a new form of transport – zero-emissions transport. Electric trucks are being developed, and the electricity-powered hyperloop is just decades away from being run for the first time in a commercial setting.
Can Green Energy Replace Fossil Fuels?
Yes, green energy can replace fossil fuels. Fossil fuels, such as oil, coal, and natural gas, have significantly impacted the climate and have increased Earth’s temperature to the point that agriculture and the quality of life are at stake. Fossil fuels are the energy source of the past, as energy stored in them can now be replaced with any green energy source, such as solar power.
Economical Viability of Green Energy
Green Energy is economically viable. Solar power, for example, employs hundreds of thousands in the USA alone. Globally, the green energy sector has created more than 18 million jobs in 2018 alone, and this number is likely to go up. As traditional energy sources are phased out, clean technologies, such as those that capture sunlight, will replace the jobs lost.
The efficiency of Different types of Green Energy
The efficiency of green energy generation increases as the technologies advance. Hydroelectric power plants reach an efficiency of around 90%, while solar reaches up to 44% with the most advanced technology we have today. Usually, solar panels have an efficiency of around 20%. The wind is seen as the most efficient renewable since there is very little maintenance, so the ROI and the amount of energy in relation to the cost are relatively high.
Is nuclear energy green?
Nuclear energy is green because it produces no greenhouse gases. It is seen as the energy source of the future because of the amount of energy stored in the fuel and the very small amount of waste it creates.
What is the best energy source for the future?
Any green energy source is considered the energy source of the future. Solar power and wind power seem to pioneer the way into a carbon-free economy as they contribute no CO2 and generate no air pollution.
What are examples of green technology?
Sun power, wind power, and hydroelectric are considered green technologies. They are considered the best technologies since even renewables and clean energy sources, such as nuclear energy, still produce an amount of pollution.
What are the cleanest future energy sources?
Wind and solar are the cleanest future energy sources. Wind and solar produce no pollution and are installed once and almost forgotten about. They require very little maintenance and can produce electricity for decades after they are connected to the grid. Furthermore, clean energy sources are constantly replenished, unlike coal and oil, which take millions of years to create.
As the planet warms up, the need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions increases. Energy technologies in the future are being tested and run today in small and large green energy projects. Each new generation of technologies comes with higher energy efficiency, as renewable energy technologies benefit from investments. Any energy that comes from natural sources is the energy of the future, so contact your utility today to find out how you can reduce your carbon footprint and help stop global warming.