Kermit the Frog once said, “It ain’t easy being green”. And while he was most likely talking about his emerald complexion rather than environmental and ecological factors concerns, it used to be true for both. Thankfully, “going green”, as it’s commonly referred, has become a lot easier these days thanks to increased awareness and concern for our environment. From hybrid and electric cars to plastic bag bans, more and more Americans are taking conscientious steps toward conservationism.
One area of environmentalism that has been recently garnering a lot of attention is that of green energy. You may or may not have heard of it before, but it’s growing popularity ensures you likely will. In fact, in the last three decades, interest in green energy has skyrocketed as technological advancements and eco-friendly companies are exploring alternatives to the traditional energy sources of coal, oil, and natural gas.
So what exactly is green energy and what can it do for you and the planet? If you want to learn about what these new forms of fuel are, read on. We’ve put together a brief explanation of this sometimes misunderstood term and how you can use it to your benefit.
What is “Green Energy”?
In short, green energy is any form of energy that originates from a natural, renewable source. Sources include wind, sun, rain, plants, tides, and geothermal heat. Because they come from “renewable” sources, they are naturally replenished by the ongoing cycle of environmental regeneration. This differs from traditional energy sources such as fossil fuel. Non-renewable energy is finite and limited in quantity and, with each passing day, becomes less available worldwide.
The other defining characteristic of green or natural energy sources is that they exert a much smaller impact on the environment when compared with their fossil fuel counterparts. Green energy sources do not emit the pollutants that fossil fuels do, such as dangerous chemical byproducts that contribute to climate change by enhancing the greenhouse effect.
At the same time, the extraction method of traditional coal and oil energies often occurs in geologically delicate environments. The mining and drilling used to obtain these sources of energy further damages some of the earth’s most sensitive ecosystems.
Unlike fossil fuel, green energy sources are much more readily available worldwide and do not require the same hazardous extraction methods of oil and coal. They can even be harnessed in areas without electricity! They have minimal environmental impact and have the potential to offer new sources of power to previously unpowered areas.
What are the different types of green energy sources? Green energy is everywhere and most commonly refers to solar, water, and wind power.
Solar power is typically the most common and most popular natural energy source. Power from the sun is harnessed typically through solar panel systems. These panels capture rays of sunlight and transform them into electricity through the use of photovoltaic cells.
You’ve likely seen these panel systems atop residential roofs in areas that enjoy year-round sunlight or smaller versions to power small emergency radios. The ease and inexpensive nature of this form of green energy enables it to be used to fill both large- and small-scale needs, from a single appliance to entire communities.
Also known as hydropower or hydroelectric power, energy obtained from water utilizes the natural cycles of evaporation, tidal currents, rainfall, and water’s natural movement to generate energy.
The flow of wind on the surface of the earth is also a common green energy source. Windmills or turbines are turned by natural wind patterns that, in turn, produces significant quantities of power and energy. In fact, a recent study found that a local, rural network of turbines operating at a mere 20% capacity could supply almost 40 times the required worldwide energy needs.
From water to wind, sun to soil, the potential to harness earth’s natural power is just about everywhere. Commonly referred to as “green energy”, these energy alternatives cannot only help save our planet but can also potentially save you money as well. Continue to learn more about natural gas companies in Florida as well as information on how to save money on energy and compare energy costs by searching online or talking to your local utility company.