Green Energy Solutions is an umbrella term for all energy solutions that provide clean energy and overcome all the disadvantages of conventional energy sources. Research into renewable, non-polluting energy solutions is advancing at such a rapid pace, it is difficult to keep track of the many types of green energy solutions that are now in development.
Some well-known Green Energy solutions for providing green energy are solar energy, wind power, hydropower, geothermal energy, biomass energy and biofuels. While all these solutions refer to the supply of energy, other solutions have also emerged that make existing infrastructure smart and therefore contribute to a greener world. Some of these green energy solutions are Rainwater Harvesting System, Energy Star HVAC instead of old HVAC, House Insulation Solutions, Double Pane Window Installation, Energy Monitoring, Energy Star Appliances Installation and Smart Power Strips Installation.
What is Green Energy?
The term ‘green energy’ refers to any electricity generated from renewable sources. This includes solar, wind, hydro, geothermal, biogas and biomass rather than carbon-heavy sources such as coal and natural gas. Green energy is created with zero carbon emissions, providing the highest net environmental benefits.
Why is green energy cheap?
In short, because it is naturally occurring and sustainable. And, after decades of development, we now have smarter, more cost-effective technology with which to harness and store green energy.
Is green energy reliable?
Energy is energy. In terms of usage, 1kW of electricity generated from green energy solutions is as effective as 1kW generated from fossil fuels. The only difference is that the latter is neither clean nor renewable.
Therefore, the question of reliability depends on how sustainable a resource is. As long as there is sun, man can use solar energy. As long as there is wind, there will be wind power. And so on.
Of course, wind turbines will only turn when there is enough wind to propel them. Solar panels collect less energy on cloudy days. In this sense, green energy may be subject to the whims of a changing climate. However, due to developments such as solar batteries and compressed air storage, it is becoming easier to store green energy. This allows us to make the most of green energy when the going is good and tap into the excess during short periods.
How is green energy used?
Green energy can be used in any number of ways. For example, simple things like solar panels on the roof of your house help heat your shower. But it can achieve much more innovation than that.
In Sweden, over the past decade, excess body heat from 250,000 daily commuters at Stockholm Central Station has been diverted to a nearby office building. The heat collected in the station’s ventilation system is used to heat water in underground tanks, which is then pumped through the heating pipes of a 13-story building down the street. Simple, naturally occurring, and non-exploitative. Also, it has reduced the energy cost of the office by 25%.
Meanwhile, some whiskey distilleries in Scotland have partnered with energy companies to provide electricity to 9,000 homes, converting leftover grain and ale residue into energy. The benefits here are twofold – reducing waste by putting it to good use, a practice estimated to reduce carbon footprints by up to 90%.
Is there a difference between green and renewable energy?
Green energy is a subcategory of renewable energy. Green energy produces zero emissions, while renewable energy, although sustainable, may require environmental trade-offs. For example, large-scale renewable energy generation and distribution requires a great deal of space, whether on land or at sea. This always affects local ecosystems, so infrastructure must take care to minimize the impact on biodiversity.
In short, all green energy is renewable, but not all renewable energy is necessarily green.
Types of green energy solution
The six most common forms are as follows:
1. Solar Power
This common renewable, green energy source is usually produced using photovoltaic cells that capture sunlight and turn it into electricity. Solar power is also used to heat buildings and for hot water as well as for cooking and lighting. Solar power has now become affordable enough to be used for domestic purposes including garden lighting, although it is also used on a larger scale to power entire neighbourhoods.
2. Wind Power
Particularly suited to offshore and higher altitude sites, wind energy uses the power of the flow of air around the world to push turbines that then generate electricity.
Also known as hydroelectric power, this type of green energy uses the flow of water in rivers, streams, dams or elsewhere to produce energy. Hydropower can even work on a small scale using the flow of water through pipes in the home or can come from evaporation, rainfall or the tides in the oceans.
Exactly how ‘green’ the following three types of green energy are is dependent on how they are created…
4. Geothermal Energy
This type of green power uses thermal energy that has been stored just under the earth’s crust. While this resource requires drilling to access, thereby calling the environmental impact into question, it is a huge resource once tapped into. Geothermal energy has been used for bathing in hot springs for thousands of years and this same resource can be used for steam to turn turbines and generate electricity. The energy stored under the United States alone is enough to produce 10 times as much electricity as coal currently can. While some nations, such as Iceland, have easy-to-access geothermal resources, it is a resource that is reliant on location for ease of use, and to be fully ‘green’ the drilling procedures need to be closely monitored.
This renewable resource also needs to be carefully managed in order to be truly labelled as a ‘green energy’ source. Biomass power plants use wood waste, sawdust and combustible organic agricultural waste to create energy. While the burning of these materials releases greenhouse gas these emissions are still far lower than those from petroleum-based fuels.
Rather than burning biomass as mentioned above, these organic materials can be transformed into fuel such as ethanol and biodiesel. Having supplied just 2.7% of the world’s fuel for transport in 2010, the biofuels are estimated to have the capacity to meet over 25% of global transportation fuel demand by 2050.
How can you help in green energy solution?
Clima members can build on their footprints by funding our solar power project in Mauritania. All of our climate projects are verified by a trusted, independent third party who ensures that the project will benefit the local community and ecosystem.
Mauritania in West Africa is classified as one of the least developed countries in the world, where more than two-thirds of the population still does not have access to an electricity grid. This gives a lot of potential to implement green energy initiatives without getting in the way of legacy infrastructure.
Want to help those in need by helping the planet? Just download Clima and in less than three minutes, you can wipe out 100% of your carbon footprint by supporting amazing initiatives like the Mauritania Solar Project.