What is Renewable Energy?

This article is intended to give you a broad idea of what is Renewable Energy. Keep in mind that this is pretty basic stuff, but most of the time is the lack of understanding of basics that keeps people from fully understand the field.

This is useful when you want to gain knowledge to choose an energy supplier based on its services and offers.

Renewable energy definition

Let’s start with the correct terminology and use the definition form the EIA website:

Renewable energy is energy from sources that are naturally-replenishing but flow-limited; renewable resources are virtually inexhaustible in duration (like the sun or wind) but limited in the amount of energy that is available per unit of time. For example, there is no impact on how many sun rays we can catch; but we can only catch a specific amount on a daily basis, based on how many solar plants are installed (flow-limited).

From US. Energy Information Administration

“Naturally-replenishing” like solar power or wind power: there is no impact on how many sun rays we can catch. But we can only get a specific amount on a daily basis, based on how many solar plants are installed (flow-limited).

Renewable energy sources

Wind power: This kind of energy is almost always generated by large turbines attached to propellers (like the ones on airplanes or helicopters) which are then forced the turn by wind blowing past them. The constant turning of the propeller creates a current that is harnessed by the turbines and stored or transported in the form of electricity.

Hydropower: Hydropower requires large amounts of water being displaced from one place to another. Examples of this would waterfalls or other features in the landscape which would lend themselves to a similar effect. While this is a verifiable source of renewable energy, it is not always termed “green” energy as it sometimes requires the building of dams (Like the Hoover Dam) that might in turn affect the local flora and fauna. More and more companies are exploring “Low Impact” Hydropower that would not require that kind of infrastructure by using naturally-occurring features of the land – such as places that have extreme high and low tides.

Geothermal: Large amounts of heat exist beneath the earth’s crust. This is evident in volcanoes, hot springs, and geysers. In broad terms, we are able to generate large amounts of energy from this trapped heat by taking hot water and steam and pushing it through a generator that in turn creates electric power.

Municipal Solid Waste: The short definition of this type of energy is that it is electricity generated from the heat that is gathered by burning (combustion) of discarded materials. This also manages the volume of trash that we leave behind by reducing it significantly.

Solar Power: Probably the most commonly known source of renewable energy; solar power is derived by heat from the sun that attracted by and converted into photocells – then converted to electricity that is typically stored in a nearby battery. Today we are using this technology more and more to power everything from small household appliances to cars, homes, and even large-sized buildings.

What is the difference between green and renewable energy

Green power is a subset of renewable energy and represents those renewable energy resources and technologies that provide the highest environmental benefit. The U.S. voluntary market defines green power as electricity produced from solar, wind, geothermal, biogas, eligible biomass, and low-impact small hydroelectric sources. Customers often buy green power for its zero-emissions profile and carbon footprint reduction benefits.

From U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

What is non-renewable energy

Coal mine electrical power plant

It’s easy at this point to identify what is non-renewable. This is still the main backbone of America’s industries, but things are changing. Nuclear for example might be wrongly classified as green but is not. To sum up; non-renewable energy is largely derived from resources like fossil fuels. Examples of this are coal, petroleum, and gas.

We consider these non-renewable because it takes thousands and sometimes even millions of years for these to be produced. As such, there’s a hard cap on how much of these we are able to use and the awareness that we will not be able to use them indefinitely. Also, a large concern is the pollution that harvesting and using these resources leaves behind.

Renewable energy companies

As the landscape of the world’s energy supply evolves, consumers are becoming increasingly more knowledgeable about their choice of energy suppliers.

In the United States, there’s an ongoing conversation about deregulation. That is, in certain states, consumers have the ability to choose who their energy supplier is.

This is particularly relevant for companies that offer Green Energy certificates, meaning the official verification that the energy that a customer is paying for comes from renewable energy resources. States such as New York, New Jersey, Ohio, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, and Pennsylvania all have deregulatory legislature in place.

More and more, companies like American Power & Gas are becoming a house-hold staple as they are able to provide energy to homes and businesses while at the same time providing Green Certificates that ensure the consumption of that particular power comes from renewable energy.

Additionally, they give back to the consumer in the form of an annual rebate check and an ample reward platform.

This video explains how American Power And Gas is able to sell Renewable energy.

Thank you for reading!