Buying Green Energy

What is Green Energy? In the past several decades, research and development into green energy has developed many new technologies

What is Green Energy?

In the past several decades, research and development into green energy has developed many new technologies that can produce renewable energy at affordable rates; making green energy available for anyone who wants it and reducing the amount of energy we need from burning fossil-fuels such as oil and coal.

Green energy focuses on sources of power that harness natural elements such as sunlight, wind, water and geothermal heat to create energy without harming the environment. Green energy is also called renewable energy – “renewable” because it can be replenished naturally, without help from man.

On the contrary, non-renewable energy production uses elements that take millions of years to develop and that exist in limited quantities, such as fossil-fuels. Producing energy through burning fossil-fuels produces mass amounts of pollution that is not good for the atmosphere and creates poor air quality for us to breathe. Further damage is created in order to mine the fuels.

Green energy is not only better for our environment and better for our health, but also provides us with an infinite supply of sources for us to use when producing energy.

Today, green energy solutions exist to replace all major areas of life where we require energy, from raw energy production, to powering large machines, heating homes and even fuel for motor vehicles (see the most common types of renewable energy).


100 Years of Improving Pollution

For many years, most of the energy we used was produced by burning fossil-fuels. And as U.S. production increased, so did the demand for energy. That demand was in turn met by burning more and more fossil-fuels; depleting Earth’s natural resources and creating a dangerous amount of pollution. 

Pollution got so bad that in 1948, Donora, PA was literally enveloped in a lethal haze of pollution. Over a five day period, over half of the towns residence were diagnosed with respiratory and cardiovascular problems. Called a “death fog” by the newspapers, a pocket of warm air had passed over the town, trapping in pollutants. Many photos such as this one, show that the pollution was so thick it was hard to see. While this is an extreme case, it shows how bad pollution can be. 

As you can see, the pollution problem isn’t a new one. In fact, for the last 50-100 years the U.S. has been working to decrease pollution and find better and cleaner ways to produce energy and it has been succeeding. 

A study done on pollution in the U.S. 100 years ago shows that 100 years ago there was so much pollution in the air that it used to stain some birds grey (read full study). That same report said:

“…when you look at pictures of Beijing and Delhi, you get a sense for what U.S. cities like Chicago and Pittsburgh were once like.”

As depicted by the below images, the U.S. has seen a steady decrease in pollution, up until recently. And, a 2018 report issued by the Environmental Protection Agency reports that: “The U.S. leads the world in having clean air…”, the report further said: “Today, Americans breathe cleaner air and face lower risks of adverse health effects.”

You and Green Energy

While the general problem is getting better, in order to scale it to a point where it no longer poses a threat, clean energy solutions had to be brought down to a grass roots level. Today, thanks to advancing technology, green energy is within anyone’s reach; being available at a consumer level. The two main reasons behind this are: 

Green energy is now affordable. Installing solar rigs or producing energy from wind turbines was once a very expensive and unreliable technology. Today, solar is the fast growing source of energy in the U.S. having reached over two million installations while home owners, businesses and even utilities are using the sun to produce their own energy. And wind is now the cheapest way to produce energy and accounts for about 6% of total U.S. energy generation (see a 2020 overview of wind power). For many homes and businesses, switching to green energy production now makes sense financially and in many cases is cheaper then buying grid power. 

Green energy is reliable. Many years ago you could have had questions about the reliability and quality of green energy production at a consumer level. But not today. Advancements have made solar panels and wind turbines some of our most reliable sources of energy; so much so that commercial level solar panels are fully covered by warranties for up to 25-30 years and could last up to 40-50 years. The actual silicon cells that convert sunlight into electricity have also improved greatly and stronger and more reliable wind turbines have been built as well. 

Many individual and businesses have personal or company wide sustainability goals. Today, it is possible for every person to make a difference.

Two Easy Ways to Buy Green Energy

Green Energy Pricing 

For businesses located in deregulated state (meaning, you have the ability to choose your energy supplier) you can request green energy pricing. Many retail energy providers have an option called “green pricing”, allowing you to buy energy produced from green and renewable sources. In many cases, this could even help reduce your current energy bills. 

Premiums for Green Energy 

For businesses in non-regulated states, check to see if your utility or power company gives the option of paying a small premium to supply your company with green energy. The premium isn’t a way for them to make more money but rather, goes to paying costs they pay in order to have green and renewable energy in their mix. 

Buying a Green Certificate 

Any business can buy a green energy certificate. Not only certifies that the energy you use is sourced from green energy sources, but it also contributes to the production of green energy. Green energy certificates can be purchased that even give you the exact location your green energy is coming from and some give you tracking capabilities as well. 

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