Think you know what clean energy is? The terms “clean energy, green power, renewable energy, alternative energy” are thrown around a lot. But what do they really mean?
According to the Environmental Protection Agency, “Clean energy includes energy efficiency and clean energy supply options like highly efficient combined heat and power as well as renewable energy sources.” Energy Star defines renewable energy as “electricity generated from resources such as the sun, wind, geothermal, biomass, and low-impact hydro facilities.” In other words if your energy comes from a renewable resource and doesn’t give off CO2 emissions, it’s clean!
Most power companies in the US already use some form of clean energy to provide you with your electricity at home. Find out how your company compares to the national average just by inputting your zip code.
Some states have also elected to give consumers green pricing choices, which sometimes run at premium to traditional prices. In some states, the EPA has recognized some key areas as “green power communities.” In Gresham, Oregon, the number of green power users grew from about 900 to over 1,200 users in a short time. Today the community gets over 15% of its electricity from green power.
Despite efforts of communities like Gresham and other individuals and businesses who seek out clean energy, only 3% of the nation’s energy needs are met by renewable resources. Some people shy away from it because it seems too cumbersome or expensive to make the switch. However, a transition to renewable energy may be easier than you think. Check to see if your local provider has a green pricing option or buy Renewable Energy Certificates (REC). A REC doesn’t exactly bring renewable energy to your home or business but it does ensure that one megawatt hour or 1,000 kilowatt hours worth of renewable energy is contributed to your regional power supply grid. If you decide to buy RECs make sure your provider is selling certified RECs.
The benefits of buying RECs are not only that you are helping reduce emissions, but also include a contribution towards further development of renewable power by increasing renewable energy revenues.
Furthermore, according to a study from U.S. Department of Energy, if the U.S. were to supply 20% of its energy from wind power by 2030, 7,600 million metric tons of Co2 emissions would be avoided and four trillion gallons of water saved. The costs of implementing this scenario would be fifty cents per month per household.
If you think you’re ready to take a step toward clean energy or just learn more, visit buycleanenergy.org.