People have various reasons for exploring renewable energy resources. Some fear that the world will soon “run out” of usable fossil fuels. Others speak of global climate change as being related to the burning of fossil fuels. Yet for many others, renewable energy isn’t just “planet-friendly” or “good long-term planning,” it is also immediately cost-saving, efficient, and technologically advanced.
Whatever your reasons for learning more, here is a super quick guide to green energy.
The Possibilities are Expanding
Renewable energy technologies are rapidly expanding. Some of these technologies have actually been around, in some form, for centuries, but they were not as efficient as current energy needs demand. For example, windmills have been powering farms since the days of Persia (these 1,000-year-old windmills in Iran are still in operation), but today’s wind turbines are vastly more efficient — today’s single average wind turbine can power about 332 homes.
Green energy resources include:
- Wind power, such as the US offshore wind farm.
- Hydropower, such as the Bonneville Dam in Oregon.
- Geothermal power, such as The Geysers Geothermal Power Plant in California.
- Biomass power, such as the Gainesville Renewable Energy Center in Florida.
- Solar power, such as on top of more than 1 million homes in the US.
Hybrid technologies and other sub-technologies also exist, such as solar thermal power plants, which produce steam/thermal energy, similar to burning fossil fuels but with solar power instead.
With so many expanding possibilities, renewable energy resources have the potential to be site-specific–creating the green energy solution which works best for that area.
It Starts with Energy Conservation
Energy conservation in the past had a bad rep and sounded much like driving teeny-tiny cars and participating in lights out/blackout periods. Those days are gone. Thanks to continued advances in renewable energy technology, we no longer have to look at energy as a limited resource.
However, energy conservation is cost-saving, particularly for commercial businesses where energy bills can be one of the largest overhead costs. You do not have to work in a LEED-certified building (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, an independent certification process), to participate in energy conservation efforts which have the potential to greatly reduce energy expenses. Examples include:
- Energy efficient appliances
- Energy efficient lighting, which may include smarter bulbs (like CFL bulbs), but also such measures as reduced brightness at “off” hours, motion sensors, etc.
- Energy efficient structural changes, such as improved insulation, smarter windows or cool roofs
- On-site energy reduction/production, such as geothermal heat pumps or solar panels
A comprehensive energy assessment can help any size business determine which cost-saving measures would work best.
Solar is Leading the Revolution
Though solar power is a relatively new technology, it continues to both advance and get less expensive. The most common solar energy is solar PV (photovoltaics), such as the solar panels on rooftops or at solar farms.
The US Department of Energy reports that enough energy hits the earth every hour to power the entire planet for a year! California has run into an interesting problem: producing so much surplus energy, particularly thanks to solar power, that it has created a surplus and has to pay other states to take some of their energy!
As batteries, storage, on-site generation and other components of solar energy improve, solar power continues to lead the renewable revolution.
You have a Choice
Every consumer should get educated about energy, now that energy has become such a matter of choice. In most states, consumers can choose where their power comes from, electing for greener energy resources. In many states, energy choice programs, also known as energy deregulation, allow commercial and household energy consumers to choose their energy provider.
At Energy Professionals, we advocate for our clients on all aspects of energy consumption, from procurement and efficiency to energy management and sustainability.
Contact us to find out more or to obtain a free quote.
This articles was originally posted at: https://www.energyprofessionals.com/energy-alert/green-energy-101/ on