What is Green Energy?
Green Energy, alternative energy, sustainable energy or renewable energy all are essentially the same. Every person on the planet knows something about green energy. We are taught as children how plants grow with the proper amount of water and sunshine. Even though this is a rudimentary explanation of green energy, you understand the point. What each of us should know, is more about green energy and why it is vital to implement and control for us to maintain our way of life.
According to the California Energy Commission, millions of years ago, the land areas of earth were covered with plant life and swamps, as the plants died, they sank onto the bottom of the swamp and then were covered with more plants. As layer after layer of plant life built up, pressure built upon the original layer along with layers of sediment. Eventually the swamps dried up, and the layers of sediment were replaced with layers of sand and dirt. With additional pressure and the heat of the earth, the plant life decayed, releasing the liquid within making the material solid. After several hundreds of thousands of years the material turned to coal. With different plant materials in the layers, different types of coal are produced.
The same process happened for the creation of oil, except that the plant life grew in swamps that had a material very similar to plankton, which ate the dead plant when it settled to the swamp floor. Then additional layers of sediment and plant material settled, then pressure and heat, the material could not escape and converted to a liquid form. Again with different types of plants becomes different type of crude oil.
According to the US Energy Information Administration the United States uses 18.83 million barrels of oil per day as of the year 2011. Since the production of oil and coal take hundreds of millions of years to make, we (the planet) is consuming oil and coal at rates which will exhaust the supply in a very short period of time, when compared to its creation.
The reason we should know about green energy is obvious, but let’s make it clear. Our standard of living and the ability to manufacture products depends upon the use of fossil fuels. If the world does not embrace the use of green energy quickly, then everyone will see a drastic change in the way they live.
Sustainable Energy takes many forms but the most common are solar, wind and water energy, along with geothermal, biomass and bio fuel, each with decreasing amounts of usage. The acceptance of these types of energy sources is critical to maintain our standard of living. Each of these types of energy source uses some materials that are not renewable, such as metal, glass, copper wire among other items. The impact of using these materials are microscopic compared to the use of fossil fuels. Once the system has been constructed, no other impact on the environment happens. The energy created by the sun, wind and water is converted into a form of energy that we can use for everyday life and the production of manufacturing items. The cost of the systems normally are somewhat expensive upfront, however does not cost anything other than maintenance, once operating.
The challenge for every person is to invest time and they own energy to gain all of the knowledge they can about this topic. If you put these practices into place, not only will your children thank you, the world will thank you.
These are examples of what is green energy. Something else the reader should be interested in is what are renewable sources of energy? This is an interesting source of our worlds energy.
Green Energy – Is this feasiable?
Anaerobic Digestion Is Green Energy
There are a number of ways green energy can be produced. Many towns and communities are waking up to anaerobic digestion and the potential it has to eliminate many obstacles all at once.
Anaerobic digestion is the natural breakdown of food waste. Food waste is just what it says, it is food that has not been eaten, peelings, core products, any natural part of food such as coffee grinds, what ever is left on a plate. There is no paper, plastic metal or other garbage material in food waste. To food waste, solid processed sewage material is added. These two materials are then combined and ground into a sort of slurry. The natural decomposing of this slurry produces methane gas. This gas can then be used to generate steam. This steam then can be used to generate electricity.
All of this is renewable energy. For a city such as New York, which produces food waste on a daily basis of 3 tons, this is a way for the city to dispose of the waste (plus sewage) and at the same time produce electricity. New York City produces more food waste material, on a daily basis, than the other five largest city’s on the East Coast combined. Since minor additional resources are needed to generate this resource, it is one which would pay for itself in a very short period of time. The only costs associated with generating this type of power is the initial cost of construction. All other costs are the ones which would have been generated with the disposal of the waste products going into landfills.
The benefits of this type of power generation are numerous. If the food waste material were transported into landfills instead of processed, these materials would then produce methane gas inside the landfill. The addition of this gas, along with metal products, creates a toxic mixture. When this mixture seeps into the water system, then the surrounding area’s are affected with this mixture. The addition of the food waste into the landfill also causes the dump to fill up quicker. These are but a few of the side effects that food waste materials cause, but would be eliminated when processed through anaerobic digestion.
In addition to the methane gas that is produced, a solid material is also produced. This material is highly concentrated with very beneficial nutrients which could be spread on the ground for fertilizer. Almost 100 % of the ingredients of anaerobic digestion is converted into usable materials for other biological processes. This benefits the environment since it does not have to use its natural resources to break down the materials. By definition Green Energy is energy that can be produced without any or limited effects on the environment, then anaerobic digestion is Green Energy. Since man is already using energy to produce the food products, and the disposal of the unused portions would already be accounted for, this type of energy has very limited effect on the environment, and is one which is renewable.
If your community is not using this type of energy, then you should be asking questions to those who would know, as to the reasons why they are not.
Green Certificates Have Benefits
Renewable Energy Certificates benefits everyone!. According to the US Department of Energy Green Certificates (REC’s) are certificates or credits that are given to people who want to use renewable or green energy to power their home or business. Each credit represents one megahertz of power generated. Once the energy enters into the power grid, the energy cannot be recognized from other energy. These credits are purchased by the power companies for their customers. The customer can then choose to purchase the credits. The credits ensure that the energy was produced from a natural source. The customer is paying a premium over conventional energy costs to ensure that the energy they use is from a natural source. People who have solar panels or wind generators on their personal property, usually sell the “excess” power generated from these devices back to the utility companies. When the customer does this, it benefits everyone on the power grid. The person generating the natural energy is receiving money back from the utility company, which helps defer the cost of the equipment, the utility company benefits from additional electricity, and the consumer benefits because they elected to purchase the credits.
For the Consumer
The benefits of a Green Certificate to the consumer is vast. The consumer does not have to live in a remote portion of the earth to use the benefits of renewable energy. As long as the utility company that the consumer purchases their electricity from is connected to “the grid”, then the consumer can purchase green certificates. It does not matter where the energy is produced the consumer can purchase that type of energy. All natural energy when entering the grid, is given a unique characteristic so that the credit can be tracked. If the energy is produced in Brazil and the consumer lives in Canada, they can purchase that type of energy credit. The consumer does not have to have special equipment or live in a certain area, or even have a stand alone house, they can live in a apartment building, while still requesting alternative energy. The choice is up to the buyer.
For the Provider
REC’s are benefiting the utility company can pass onto the consumer. The more credits that the utility company sells, the more that was produced. Unfortunately, the utility companies can only sell credits that have already been produced, so the numbers are limited. The benefits to the companies are that they do not have to build additional plants to generate the natural energy. Some utility companies also charge the produces of natural energy additional fees associated with the administration of the system. These fees are small.
Using a Green Certificate really does benefit everyone. From the smallest apartment dweller to a remote plot of land on a mountain side, one a user, the other a producer, both are enjoying natural energy. The certificate program makes sure that those with excess can give to those who need. When energy is used in this way, no harmful effects are places on the environment from the production of the energy. The whole system is made better.
By Ralph Giove