It is a term that you are going to hear about more and more as we are nearing depletion of fossil fuels, but what exactly green energy is? Which energy sources really deserve to be called green, and what may be the future of renewable energy? How can you contribute to a greener future, starting now?
Green energy is defined as the energy produced with the minimal impact on the environment. What that means is that the amount of harmful byproducts produced during the energy generation are negligible compared to coal, oil or gas, so power can be produced without polluting the environment. Environmentally friendly and non-polluting sources of energy are called “green” because they lower carbon emissions and create less pollution.
The sources of green energy are renewable and include solar, geothermal, wind, and hydro (water) energy. Green energy can be generated from biofuels (ethanol, biodiesel) and biomass (waste) as well. Some also consider nuclear energy as a form of green energy. It is important to notice that not all bio energy sources are clean and green: for example, wood is an excellent source of energy, but using wood for fuel is harmful to the environment and its combustion produces harmful byproducts.
Energy conservation is an important part of the renewable energy paradigm. Using green energy is invariably linked to practices such as recycling and minimizing the waste and pollution. For example, using solar energy cells in order to store and make power, you create no waste and no pollution while harvesting the energy from the sun, and there are no harmful byproducts to speak of.
Did you know that your electricity can be green, too? It works the same as your current electricity supply, but the sources that your utility or a green power provider feed into the grid that powers your home are renewable.
When you switch to green power, you will know that you are not contributing to the climate change and environmental pollution, and your carbon footprint is reduced. You will be using energy sources that are renewable and do not draw on resources which are going to be depleted or become too expensive in the near future.
Rest assured, green energy can replace fossil fuels in all areas: electricity, water and space heating, and fuel. As a matter of fact, it is estimated that in North America alone, there is enough geothermal energy stored under the ground to generate ten times as much electricity as coal does today!