Green Energy: What Is It?

green energy

Green energy is another term for renewable energy, which is a type of energy that can be drawn from sources that are capable of regenerating naturally. It creates energy dependence, improves public health, and protects wildlife and their natural habitats. It is currently the fastest-growing energy source globally and in the United States.


Types of Green Energy


The 5 major types of green energy are:


Solar energy – thermal energy has been utilized for thousands of years. It is used today as an alternate source for electricity and heat for plumbing. This is done through photovoltaic (PV) devices like solar panels which are ideal because PV products don’t produce air pollutants or carbon dioxide. It is the second most used form of renewable energy, as the sun’s rays are so strong it could, in theory, power much of the world’s electrical needs.


Geothermal energy – is a form of thermal energy from the core of the earth used for electricity, heat, and water in buildings. It is renewable because much of it is a result of the chemical processes that occur in the earth. One of them is the decay of particles in underground rocks. Another is the earth’s tendency to bring much of the heat to the surface in the form of magma from volcanoes, where water and rocks absorb its heat afterward.


Wind energy – because of the sun’s relationship with the earth’s landmass, the wind is able to be manipulated by humans for electricity. It is also a traditional source of energy that was once common in the US: windmills specifically were once relied upon to create a water supply for animals.


Biomass – biomass is synthesized from plants and animals for electricity and transportation in the United States. Biomass starts in the form of wood, crops, compost, solid waste, and animal and human manure. They are then converted into useable energy by combustion, but mostly through the process of conversion.


Hydropower – which brings us to hydropower. Hydropower is a source of energy made solely by flowing water. Hydropower plants are built to most effectively take advantage of the water cycle in streams in rivers. As of 2020, most of the world’s renewable energy is derived from hydropower, about 16.8 percent. According to the US Energy Information Admin, as of 2020 in the US, hydropower accounted for 7.3 percent of electricity generation.


However, most of the world’s energy comes from fossil fuels, also known as nonrenewable resources with the main ones being natural gas, oil, coal, and nuclear energy. This is the crux of the Earth’s climate change issue, as currently fossil fuels make up 80 percent of the world’s energy and emit greenhouse gases, encourage non-biodegradation, and create scary phenomena like acid rain.


The Importance of Green Energy


Of course, it wasn’t always like this: in the US, renewable energy was the main source of energy in the early 1700s. It was only with the advent of the 1760 Industrial Revolution that the use of coal-powered machinery and the first factories began to spring up across America. By the 20th century, much of America’s energy was transferred to fossil fuels and less reliant on the renewable resource of wood.


On top of that, the means for production was increased to supply soldiers in the following World Wars. Thus, the appeal of urban living was created, as many who worked in those factories needed to live near their place of work. This brought about more pollution and the loss of forest trees.


Since then, the world slowly began recovering through a more environmentally conscious public, green technology, and political pressure. As it stands, the fast growth of green energy is the Earth’s and humanity’s only hope for a low-carbon, zero-emissions future.


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