The world is changing. We’ve seen it first-hand. We’re more aware of our actions impact on the environment, and we want to do something about that. But what can you do? How can you make a difference?
Luckily, there are lots of ways to get involved! One way is through green energy. Green energy is produced from natural resources such as sunshine, wind, or water. It is frequently derived from renewable energy sources. But, there are major distinctions between renewable and green energy. We will discuss these differences further below.
Green energy can produce 3 of the 5 energy types: electrical, mechanical, and thermal. We will talk about how it can generate those energy types and the different types of green energy.
What is green energy?
Green energy is a term used to describe any form of energy that is sustainable instead of fossil fuels. A green energy source would not contaminate our environment or damage our climate. In the past, this has meant renewable energy sources such as solar and wind.
A resource is not green energy if it produces pollution, as is the case with fossil fuels. Not all of the sources employed by the industry of renewable energy are environmentally friendly. Producing electricity by burning organic material sourced from healthy forests may be renewable. This is because the carbon dioxide released during the burning process makes it less likely that the method is environmentally friendly.
Unlike fossil fuels like coal or natural gas, green energy sources are supplied by nature. Green sources usually do not come from harmful mining and drilling operations.
Green energy is a great way to reduce your carbon footprint. It can be used for electricity generation, transportation, and heating. It comes in many forms, such as wind turbines, solar panels, and biofuels. The most popular form of green energy is wind power. Wind farms are all over the world. They generate billions of kilowatts of electricity every year!
Green energy is all around us; you can use it to power your kitchen appliances! But what if you have a problem with rusting kitchen appliances? You need not worry—we have a solution for that. Here’s how to remove rust from stainless steel to help you get rid of that rust so you can use your appliances worry-free!
Do you know what else is great about using green energy? It’s not just good for the environment but also for your wallet. By investing in solar panels or wind turbines (or both!), you’ll be able to save money on your electric bill. You’ll also contribute to reducing greenhouse gas emissions and help create a better environment.
What are the types of green energy?
Wind, solar, hydroelectric, and tidal power are the main green energy sources. Solar and wind energy can be created on a small scale at individual residences or on a bigger, industrial scale. Here are the most common types of green energy.
1. Solar Power
Photovoltaic cells generate this green energy type, which converts sunlight into electricity. Solar energy is also used for cooking and illumination. It provides heat for houses and hot water.
Solar energy is also utilized on a bigger scale to supply entire neighborhoods. It is now economical for home applications, including garden lighting. Solar panels are now accessible. It is the cheapest source of electricity. There has been a sharp decline in the cost of solar panel production over the past 10 years.
You can use solar panels in your household if you own a home. Solar panels lower your energy expenses. There are 5 types of solar energy.
- Photovoltaic Solar Energy;
- Passive Solar Energy;
- Active Solar Energy;
- Solar Thermal Energy; and
- Concentrating Solar Power (CSP).
See Related: Best Solar Generators for Off-Grid Living
This form of green energy is often known as hydroelectric power. It uses the kinetic energy of flowing water in rivers, streams, dams, or other locations to produce electricity. Water movement can generate hydropower through household pipes, evaporation, rainfall, or ocean tides.
Hydropower is green because, unlike fossil fuels, it doesn’t release any pollution into the environment. Hydropower plants are usually located on large rivers or lakes. They use dams to hold back water and then release it through turbines that generate electricity when they spin around.
3. Wind Power
Wind power is a form of green energy that converts wind into electricity. Wind turbines in wind power plants use the wind to turn blades. This generates electricity. The electricity generated depends on the wind speed and the turbine size.
Wind power is considered green. It does not produce harmful by-products, such as carbon dioxide or nitrogen oxides (like fossil fuels). Wind power does not need water to operate, so there are no water usage issues associated with it either!
4. Geothermal energy
Geothermal energy is a type of renewable energy that harnesses heat that’s trapped underground. It’s considered green because it uses a natural resource that doesn’t pollute the environment.
Geothermal energy comes from the earth’s core, made up of molten rock. When this molten rock melts and cools, it forms rock with water inside it—this is called an aquifer.
How does geothermal energy work? It’s a process called “heat mining.” You take water from underground sources and use it to heat buildings or warm homes. The heat comes up from inside the earth. So, you don’t need to burn any fossil fuels or pollute the air with your greenhouse gas emissions.
When water heats up, it moves through the rocks until it reaches an area where the rock has cooled down. This cool area traps the heat in an aquifer. It makes it possible for people to use it later to provide energy for their homes or businesses.
The brilliance of biogas 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. It is created from organic substances, including sewage, food, agricultural waste, and manure.
These materials are kept in vessels without oxygen. This causes them to ferment and release various gases, including methane and carbon dioxide. The generated methane can be sold and utilized to heat residences, generate power, and fuel automobiles. The waste put in a biogas digester turns into fertilizer that is rich in nutrients and can even be used at home.
6. Biomass Energy
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. A large portion of this biomass gets transformed into biogas and liquid biofuels. Other solid materials, like wood, can be burned on their own to heat structures and create energy.
What are alternative energy and clean energy?
Alternative energy comes from sources other than fossil fuels. As a result, it emits little or no greenhouse emissions like carbon dioxide (CO2). Energy generated from non-traditional resources does not contribute to the greenhouse gas effect. Greenhouse gases are responsible for climate change and global warming.
Electricity generated using clean energy is emission-free. Yet, a “carbon cost” may be associated with its production or upkeep. For instance, natural areas must be cleared to build facilities. This effort results in carbon emissions.
Clean energy, green energy, and renewable energy sources have some overlap, but they are not the same thing entirely.
Examples of Green Energy Usage
Buildings ranging from massive corporate complexes to private houses are all using green energy. These include geothermal heat systems, solar water heaters, and renewable energy-powered cooling systems.
Biomass or sustainably generated power can generate renewable heat for industrial activities. Currently, hydrogen is a significant renewable energy source for the chemical, steel, iron, and cement sectors.
Renewable electricity and sourced biofuels are increasingly used in transportation in a variety of business sectors. Aerospace and construction are two more industries that are actively researching electrification. The automotive industry clearly illustrates how electrification is advancing to replace fossil fuels.
See Related: How to Make a Commercial Building More Energy Efficient
What is the difference between green energy and renewable energy?
Using green and renewable energy has the same ultimate objectives. They lower greenhouse gas emissions worldwide and try to halt climate change. It is important to keep in mind that they have a few minor variances.
Green energy is produced from limitless sources without releasing carbon dioxide. It doesn’t have a negative effect on the environment. Renewable energy is produced using countless resources.
Because there is an endless supply of renewable energy sources and we can continue to use them for a very long time, it is sustainable. To offer environmental benefits, green energy is a renewable energy subcategory with a zero-emission profile and reduces carbon footprints.
To sum it up, all green energy is renewable energy, but not all renewable energy is green. The portion of renewable energy with the most positive environmental impact is called “green energy.”
Types of Renewable Energy
The best kind of renewable energy source is one that doesn’t pollute or use up our resources. So why not take advantage of all the free stuff nature offers? Check out this list of 5 types of renewable energy.
Radiant energy from sunlight is captured and transformed into heat or electricity to create solar energy. Solar cells are used in solar PV (photovoltaic) systems to convert direct sunlight into electricity.
For a wide range of applications, solar systems can provide heat, cooling, natural lighting, power, and fuels. Solar technologies can use photovoltaic panels or solar radiation-concentrating mirrors. These turn sunlight into electrical energy.
Not all nations have the same access to solar energy. But direct solar energy can contribute to any nation’s energy mix, especially in reducing energy consumption.
Wind energy captures the kinetic energy of flowing air (offshore). It uses enormous wind turbines on land (onshore), in salt water, or in freshwater. Wind energy has been used for thousands of years. It has advanced to maximize the amount of electricity produced, using higher turbines and bigger rotor diameters.
Average wind speeds vary greatly from place to place. However, most locations of the world have the potential for considerable wind energy deployment. In fact, the technical potential for wind energy is more than global power production.
Strong winds can be found in many locations worldwide, but distant areas are often the greatest for producing wind energy. Offshore wind energy has a lot of potentials.
Many ranchers, boat companies, and cellphone manufacturers have their own wind farms. If you want your own backyard wind farm, you can buy small wind turbines or make your own!
Geothermal energy makes use of the thermal energy that is available from the earth’s interior. Geothermal reservoirs can be heated using wells or other methods. Wells are often used in geothermal plants to get hot water from geothermal resources and turn it into steam to power a turbine generator.
Hydrothermal reservoirs are naturally hot and permeable. Meanwhile, enhanced geothermal systems are naturally hot but improved by hydraulic stimulation.
Different temperature fluids can be used to produce electricity once they reach the surface. The technology for producing energy from hydrothermal reservoirs is established, dependable, and mature.
Hydropower captures the energy of transporting water from higher to lower heights. Rivers and reservoirs can produce it. Run-of-river hydropower facilities rely on the river’s available flow. Meanwhile, reservoir hydropower plants use water that has been stored in a reservoir.
Hydropower reservoirs supply energy, drinking water, irrigation water, drought and flood control, and navigation systems.
The largest renewable energy source in the electricity sector at the moment is hydropower. It depends on rainfall patterns. A dam will be able to make a controlled water flow which will move a turbine, generating electricity.
Bioenergy is made from various organic resources. These are known as biomass. They include waste wood, charcoal, dung, and other manures for the production of heat and power. They also include agricultural crops for the creation of liquid biofuels.
When biomass is used for generating renewable energy, greenhouse gas emissions are produced. However, it is at a lesser rate than when fossil fuels like coal, oil, or gas are burned. Bioenergy should only be employed in limited applications.
Fun & Helpful Facts about Green Energy, Renewable Energy, and Clean Energy
- The United States has a lot of renewable energy resources and is a resource-rich nation. The quantity available exceeds the country’s annual electrical needs by 100 times. About 59% of all renewable energy consumption in the United States in 2021 was consumed by the electric power industry. About 20% of all electricity generated in the country comes from renewable sources.
- Do you want to install a renewable energy system? Reduce your energy usage and increase your home’s energy efficiency first.
- Carbon dioxide is released into the atmosphere when burning biomass for energy production. But biomass is still considered renewable. Why? Because the CO2 is also consumed when plants grow back, supposedly maintaining a stable atmosphere.
- In order to alter the flow of water, hydro plants are frequently built close to large bodies of water. The amount of flowing water and how much of its elevation changes determines how much power is produced. Higher heads and larger volumes of water result in the production of more energy.
- Burning fossil fuels to provide electricity is a significant source of greenhouse gas emissions. These renewable energy sources are essential in the fight against climate change and global warming.
- Hydropower reservoirs are very useful. Yes, they supply energy. But they also serve as sources of drinking water, irrigation water, drought, and flood control. They even help with navigation services!
- Geothermal heat is the heat trapped beneath the earth’s crust during its formation 4.5 billion years ago and as a result of radioactive decay.
- Ocean energy comes from processes that harness the kinetic and thermal energy of the ocean. It uses waves and currents to generate heat or electricity. The development of ocean energy systems is still in its infancy. Various wave and tidal current prototypes are being investigated.
What is the largest form of renewable energy?
Hydropower is still the world’s most significant and primary source of renewable energy (EIA).
What is the best type of renewable energy?
With 8% of the country’s energy coming from wind power, it is the top renewable energy source. This renewable energy source still packs a powerful efficiency and is environmentally beneficial.
What are four examples of renewable resources?
Renewable energy sources are naturally replenished and don’t run out. Wind, sunlight, bioenergy, and hydroelectricity are a few examples of renewable energy sources.
What are the 5 main renewable energy sources?
The 5 main renewable energy sources are solar energy from the sun, geothermal energy from the heat inside the earth, wind energy, biomass from plants, and hydropower from flowing water.
How many types of renewable energy are there?
There are 7 types of renewable energy: solar energy, hydroelectric energy, oceanic energy, geothermal energy, wind energy, hydrogen energy, and biomass energy.