The primary function of green (renewable) energy is growing in the United States. Early U.S. energy users replaced the traditional use of coal, oil and natural gas from their generation of electricity with clean, renewable (green) sources like solar power. Today, as the use of green energy sources like wind power, solar power and biofuels is growing exponentially, more energy users are replacing older, non-renewable forms of energy with newer, more abundant, and clean forms. But it’s not just the U.S. that’s moving green. Across the world, green energy projects and initiatives are increasing rapidly.
Among the most important drivers of the move toward greener energy is the need for jobs provided by new economic growth – a larger, more diverse economy that creates more wealth than what it destroys. As pollution levels continue to increase in developing countries, green technologies are becoming critical to the economic vitality of those nations. Developing nations have been dependent on hydrocarbons for decades, but the gradual lack of hydrocarbons over the last 20 years has stunted their economy. Now, they’re rushing to find alternatives to fossil fuels and are increasingly turning to greener sources for electricity generation. This movement is playing out in the U.S., with the growth of wind and solar technologies playing a major role.
One of the main arguments against relying on fossil fuels and against using renewable technology is the cost of generating electricity. Most electricity generation sources require a lot of fossil fuel, which is a non-renewable resource. Coal, natural gas and oil are all non-renewables. In fact, the finite nature of these resources makes them a problem for the foreseeable future. One barrel of oil can only power about ten homes at a time, while natural gas can power millions of homes at once.
Unfortunately, much of the world’s coal still needs to be extracted from the earth at great expense, and then must be turned into a liquid form that can be processed into a useful product. This process of extracting and processing coal has often led to polluted environments, increased air pollution and global warming. While it is unlikely that carbon dioxide will be trapped under the coal bed forever, the problem is that it takes a very long time to recover from the damage that humans have done to the earth’s atmosphere through coal mining and other such practices. At the present time, there is no better alternative to using coal than the technology available for creating electricity with renewable resources such as wind and solar power.
Wind and solar powered generators have both been approved by the government as reliable renewable energy sources. Solar panels have been around for decades, but they were not widely used until recently because they were expensive to manufacture and maintain. Fortunately, technological developments have brought cheaper solar panel production and greater efficiency. As a result, they are now much more affordable and can power a number of household appliances without causing problems. A home windmill can help you generate electricity for your entire home on a small budget, while solar thermal collectors can heat and store water for future use.
Wind turbines and solar panels are not the only ways to obtain renewable energy that can power the home. Biomass energy is now becoming increasingly popular as an environmentally friendly option. Even though it does require quite a large investment to start generating this energy, the returns can be substantial. You can burn organic waste materials such as wood chips and backyard waste to generate heat in your home, or you can burn agricultural wastes, which are rich in nutrients, into biomass to power your home.
Coal mining is one of the largest contributors to the environmental impact of the energy industry. It is ironic that as a source of renewable energy, solar and wind energy can reduce your household’s environmental impact. Coal mining contributes to a significant environmental impact through the release of toxic chemicals into the air, poison gas released from the tailings, and the leakage of mining waste into the streams and rivers. Alternative energy experts have called for the removal of these toxins so that their impact on the environment is significantly reduced.
One of the best ways to utilize alternative renewable energy sources in your home is by using hydro power. If you are located near a body of water, there are several options available. You can use a small solar water heater connected to the main grid of your house, or you can connect it to your local hydroelectric plant. Both methods can produce electricity for your home and reduce or eliminate your need for traditional electricity sources.