Any energy source that is derived from nature, such as sunlight or wind, is called green energy. Although it is often generated from renewable energy sources, there are differences between green and renewable energy that we will discuss below.
These energy resources don’t cause harm to the environment by releasing greenhouse gases.
What Does It Do?
Green energy is often derived from renewable energy technologies like solar power, wind power and geothermal energy. Each technology works differently. One can take power from the sun with solar panels or use wind turbines to create energy.
What does it mean?
To be considered green energy, a resource must not produce pollution. The renewable energy industry does not use all resources that are green. Power generation that uses organic material from sustainable forests, for example, may be renewable but not always green due to the CO2 generated by the burning process.
Green energy sources can be replenished naturally, unlike fossil fuels like coal and natural gas, which can take many years to develop. Green energy sources often avoid drilling or mining operations that could be harmful to the environment.
There are three main sources of wind energy: solar power, wind power, and hydroelectric power. Tidal energy uses the ocean energy from the waves in the sea to generate its energy. You can either produce solar and wind power at your home or on a larger scale in an industrial setting.
These are the six most popular forms:
Photovoltaic cells capture sunlight and convert it to electricity, making this a common source of renewable energy. Also, solar power can be used to heat buildings, for hot water, and also for lighting and cooking. Although solar power is now affordable enough for household purposes, such as garden lighting and heating, it can also be used to power whole neighborhoods.
Wind energy is particularly well-suited for offshore and higher-elevation sites. It uses the power of the airflow around the globe to propel turbines that generate electricity.
Hydroelectric power is also known as green energy. It uses water from rivers, streams, dams, and other sources to generate electricity. Hydropower can be used on a small scale by circulating water through pipes inside the house or from rainfall, evaporation, or tides in oceans.
How they were created will determine how green the three types of green electricity are.
This form of green power is based on thermal energy stored under the crust. Although this resource is difficult to access and has a high environmental impact, once it is discovered, it can be a tremendous resource. For thousands of years, geothermal energy has been used to heat water for bathing. This same resource can also be used to generate steam turbines and electricity. The United States can store 10 times more energy than coal, and this is just the US. Although some countries, like Iceland, have access to geothermal resources that are easy to access, this resource is dependent on the location and must be carefully monitored in order to be truly ‘green’.
To be considered a source of ‘green energy,’ this renewable resource must be managed carefully. To create energy, biomass power plants burn wood waste, sawdust, and other organic agricultural waste. Although these materials release greenhouse gas, they emit far less than the emissions from petroleum-based fuels.
These organic materials can be used to make fuels such as biodiesel and ethanol, instead of burning biomass. Biofuels have been estimated to be able to supply more than 25% of the global transport fuel demand by 2050, having already supplied 2.7% of the world’s fuels for transport in 2010.
Why It’s Important
Green energy is important for the environment as it replaces the negative effects of fossil fuels with more environmentally-friendly alternatives. Green energy, which is often derived from natural resources, is often clean and renewable. This means that it emits very few greenhouse gasses and is often easily available.
Even when you consider the entire life cycle of green energy sources, they emit far fewer greenhouse gasses than fossil fuels and produce very few or very low levels of air pollution. This is good news for the planet and for animals that need to breathe in the air.
Because green energy is often produced locally, it can lead to stable energy prices. These sources are also less affected by price spikes, geopolitical crises, and supply chain disruptions. In addition to the economic benefits, there are also job opportunities in the construction of facilities that serve the local communities where workers work. In 2018, renewable energy created 11 million jobs around the world. This number is expected to rise as we work towards net zero.
Because of the local nature and production of energy through sources such as solar and wind power the energy infrastructure is more flexible than centralized sources and less susceptible to disruption.
Also, green energy is a cost-effective solution to many countries’ energy needs. This will continue to improve as the cost of green energy continues to drop, allowing for more access, especially in developing countries.
Many forms of green energy are in use today. These include energy production, transport, and heating buildings. Here are some examples of green solutions being explored by many industries.
Heating and cooling in buildings
For buildings that range from large office blocks to homes, green energy solutions can be used. These include solar water heaters as well as biomass-fueled boilers and direct heat of geothermal.
You can use renewable electricity or biomass to generate heat for industrial processes. Hydrogen is a major source of renewable energy in the chemical, iron, and steel industries.
Renewable electricity and sustainable biofuels are becoming more popular in transportation. As electrification progresses to replace fossil fuels in automotive, it is obvious that electrification is being explored in other industries such as aerospace and construction.
Can It Replace Fossil Fuels?
Although green energy can replace fossil fuels in the future, it will likely require a variety of production methods. For example, geothermal is especially effective in areas where it is easily accessible, while wind power or solar energy may be more suitable for other locations.
There are many reasons to believe that fossil fuels can be phased out by bringing together many green energy sources.
Although we are still years away from seeing this happen, it is essential to reduce climate change, improve our environment, and create a more sustainable future.
Is It Economically Viable?
Green energy is economically viable only if it is compared to fossil fuels. It is a fact that the price of green energy will increase as less easily-resourced fossil resources run out.
While fossil fuels are becoming more expensive, greener energy options are cheaper. Green energy also benefits from other factors, such as the ability to create localized, relatively cheap energy solutions such as solar farms. As we gain more knowledge and build upon past successes, the interest in green energy solutions and their investment is driving down costs.