What Exactly is Green Energy?
Consumers are becoming more and more aware of the value of switching from conventional to renewable energy sources as we grow more conscious of our environmental effects. Greater sustainability in our power system can be achieved with the use of green energy, however, the term is confusing to some and frequently used to refer to renewable energy sources by others.
What is Green Energy?
Green energy, often known as green power, is just one small subset of the services and goods offered by the U.S. energy industry. Although many people equate this with renewable energy, there is a major difference.
What distinguishes green energy from renewable energy?
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) claims that green energy, which includes electricity generated by solar, wind, geothermal, biogas, low-impact hydroelectric, and some qualified biomass sources, offers the most environmental benefit.
When you turn on a light or charge your phone, these renewable energy sources are integrated into the electrical grid and cannot be distinguished from traditional energy sources. Green energy comes from the same sources as renewable energy, but renewable energy is more broadly defined to cover technology and goods that have a significant environmental impact on both the local and global environment. In essence, when you purchase green energy, you're also promoting a variety of renewable energy initiatives and the financial backing for the technology that enables their expansion.
Green energy comes in a wide range of forms and originates from numerous sources. There are many different types of renewable energy that are incorporated into the electricity system because some of them are better suited to particular environments or geographical areas.
Solar energy is a clean form of power that derives from the sun. Nuclear fusion, the process by which smaller atoms are fused together by heat and pressure to generate heavier atoms, produces an enormous amount of energy in stars in general, with a great deal of energy released in the process. The energy is then transmitted to us by solar radiation, where it can be captured and transformed into useful electricity.
Perhaps the most popular way to gather solar energy is via solar panels. These are panels filled with objects referred to as photovoltaic cells. Through the photoelectric effect, these cells generate an electrical current when solar light strikes them. The electricity is then converted to alternating current by passing it through an inverter. From here, you can utilize it to power your house or add it to the mix of the nationwide grid. Read our solar energy guide.
Actually, the sun also provides energy from the wind. This is so because the wind is a result of the atmosphere's uneven heating. The shape of our planet, its spin, and how we circle the sun all have an impact on this unevenness. The surface that winds are traveling over—whether it be land or water—modifies them further.
The most typical wind energy generators have three blades. These operate on a far more straightforward principle than solar energy. Wind drives the turbine's blades, which in turn drives an internal rotor. The primary shaft is then moved by this rotor, spinning a generator to produce electricity.
Despite the wind's apparent strength, substantial wind farms are needed to produce enough electricity to have an impact.
Energy from Hydrogen
By harnessing the energy present in moving water, hydroelectric electricity is created. The easiest way to do this is to make water flow through a small opening in order to increase its energy per square meter. This is often done by holding water in a reservoir or dam and purging it only when necessary by opening an intake.
The water is forced through the intake at a breakneck pace by the gravitational potential energy that is stored by keeping water higher up in the dam. After being let go, the flow rotates a turbine, which once more turns on a generator to produce power.
Hydroelectricity is one of the most often used sources of green energy because of its effectiveness. By using hydropower to produce electricity, it is predicted that 4 billion tons of greenhouse emissions were kept out of the environment just in 2017.
The beauty of biogas, if such a thing can be said, is that it uses our waste products in addition to being a green energy source. Biogas is a result of the decomposition of organic matter and is created from substances including sewage, food, agricultural waste, and manure.
These materials are kept in containers without oxygen, which causes them to ferment and release various gases, including methane and carbon dioxide. The generated methane can subsequently be sold and utilized to heat residences, generate power, and fuel automobiles. In addition, the waste put in a biogas digester turns into fertilizer that is rich in nutrients and can even be used at home.
Similar to biogas, biomass is a type of renewable energy derived from plants and animals. Both plants and animals store solar energy, frequently in the form of sugar or cellulose. In fact, a large portion of this material gets transformed into biogas and liquid biofuels like ethanol and biodiesel when it comes to turning biomass into usable energy. Other solid materials, like wood, can be burned on their own to heat structures and create energy. The EPA estimates that biomass fuels made for around 5% of the total energy used in the US in 2017.
The Importance of Green Energy
In the past, we have relied on resources like coal, oil, and even kerosene to give us the energy we require. These fuels, however, don't regenerate and release pollution into the air and environment. As a result, these resources will eventually exhaust themselves, raising concerns regarding shortages and availability. The harm they cause to the ecosystem, though, is worse.
The burning of these conventional energy sources contributes to global warming. Coal and oil use release harmful gases into the environment, which have an effect on overall health, lead to respiratory problems and shorten life spans. Simply taking out coal and oil can have disastrous effects on local economies, landscapes, and ways of life.
The sooner we switch to renewable energy sources, the better, as it will help us alleviate and avoid at least some of these problems.
Ready to get started on using cleaner energy? Contact us now to start the process of installing solar today!