When choosing between conventional power and green power, make sure to consider the environmental costs and benefits of each option. Fossil fuels and nuclear fission emit greenhouse gases and have environmental costs associated with mining, drilling, and extraction. Nuclear power generation produces no greenhouse gases during power generation but requires long-term storage of radioactive waste. For these reasons, it is not a good option for many households or businesses. Instead, opt for renewable sources of energy.
Renewable energy sources
We have been relying on non-renewable energy sources for thousands of years. These have been used to heat homes, power boats, and grind grain. However, these fossil fuels have negative effects on the environment and are contributing to global warming. By contrast, renewable energy sources are plentiful, ongoing, and free. Solar energy is a growing energy source and is used in agriculture and forestry. Biomass is a niche source of electricity but is becoming more common with the advancement of solar cells.
Other renewable energy sources can be used to generate electricity. For example, solar photovoltaic systems generate electricity directly. But in order to be effective, these systems must be converted into a steam or dynamo. In addition, renewable energy sources must be duplicated to meet demand and must be combined with large-scale electricity storage. This can be done through battery storage. And while solar photovoltaic systems are a great option for green power, there are many more issues to consider.
While the levelised cost of electricity from renewable energy sources is often more affordable than fossil fuels, some technologies require subsidies or a backup capacity. Wind and solar photovoltaic technology have made major advancements in recent decades, while solar thermal systems show great potential in sunny climates. Moreover, government support for renewable energy sources has reduced the costs, and solar and wind technologies are now competitive with fossil fuels. However, these technologies are not free from carbon emissions charges.
Hydrogen is a byproduct of renewable energy. Hydrolysis, the process in which water molecules split into hydrogen and oxygen, is created by excess renewable electricity. Hydrogen can be used in various applications, and it burns cleanly. Hydrogen can also be stored in fuel cells, which act like batteries in the production of electricity. Some types of cars run on hydrogen fuel cells. You can calculate your carbon dioxide offset by enrolling in a renewable power program.
There are many renewable energy sources in Canada. Canada's biomass resources are plentiful, and biomass is one of the fastest growing sources of electricity in Canada. Historically, wood has been used for cooking and space heating. Today, about 4.6 percent of households use wood for space heating, which is about seven percent of all residential energy. Further, the use of wood has many uses in Canada. A recent study concluded that wood energy produces approximately eight-gigawatt hours of electricity each year.
Bioenergy is often touted as the answer to the climate crisis, but it fails to live up to its promises. Two new bills in Texas could put the Prairie State on the path to 100 percent renewable energy. However, Texas's fossil fuel tax breaks outstrip its renewable energy tax credits by about two to one. The city of Albuquerque is making a big push toward renewable power and is building a solar workforce to keep the city on track.
Zero-emission energy sources
While solar and wind power can help power the grid, they are not the only options. Many utilities will have to re-configure their plans if they want to achieve their zero-emissions goal. Next-generation technologies like long-duration energy storage and small modular nuclear reactors are needed to achieve this goal. Another option is natural gas peaker plants that can run on methane and green hydrogen.
Geothermal energy is stored underground and needs drilling to access it, but it can be a huge resource if properly harnessed. Thousands of years ago, geothermal energy was used for bathing in hot springs, but this natural energy can be captured and converted into electricity through turbines. If harnessed, geothermal energy can produce as much as 10 times the amount of electricity that coal does.
Oxy-fuel combustion technology was developed by Clean Energy Systems, a company with decades of experience in clean power. The company's technology utilizes pure oxygen for fuel combustion, producing zero atmospheric pollution and commercial CO2.
Nuclear energy has twice the EROI of coal. The carbon footprint of a nuclear power plant is about five percent. Wind and solar power, by contrast, have a carbon footprint of four grams per kilowatt-hour. In comparison, wind and solar power can be used only 90 percent of the time, so their value is lower than that of other energy sources. The carbon footprint of nuclear and solar energy is lower than that of coal, gas with CCS, and bioenergy.
Renewable energy is the best option for green power. These types of energy are free and abundant. They produce fewer greenhouse gas emissions and other pollutants than fossil fuels. Renewable energy is clean energy – the opposite of fossil fuels. These sources are also easier to access. Further, they are also better for human health. Ultimately, green power is an investment in our future. It is time for us to make the switch to renewable energy.
Low-carbon alternatives like wind and solar power are also the most expensive. However, they do not cost much more than coal or gas combined cycle, which is the other two leading low-carbon technologies. In comparison, wind and solar costs only a few cents more per KWH. So, in the long run, they will save us a great deal of money. If you are considering making this switch, they are worth the money.
Biomass can be turned into fuel. In 2010, it supplied 2.7% of the world's transportation fuel. It is estimated that biomass will meet 25 percent of transportation fuel needs by 2050. By 2020, it is possible to convert waste into fuel. And if all other means fail, you can convert biomass into electricity. A ton of garbage can produce 550-750 kWh of electricity. But we will need to continue implementing these new policies and regulations to reach our zero-emissions goal.
Geothermal energy is a renewable resource. It is a source of heat that is derived from the Earth's subterranean heat, which is released as steam and serves many human needs throughout history. In the eighteenth century, men pioneered the first industrial uses for geothermal energy and opened the door to electricity in the nineteenth. Using geothermal energy for green power has many advantages.
There are two major methods of harnessing geothermal heat: open-loop geothermal systems, and closed-loop geothermal systems. Open-loop systems are more efficient, since they do not use fluids, and don't require fracking. Open-loop systems are more efficient because they use sealed pipes or boreholes to collect heat from deep beneath the earth. The heated fluids then travel to the surface to generate electricity. The closed-loop geothermal system is the most widely used, though, as it can generate a tunable mix of electricity and heat. Startups have also amplified this technology by using technologies from the oil and gas industry. One such company is Savor.
Regulatory reform is necessary to make geothermal energy more accessible. In the United States, 91% of geothermal energy potential is located on federal lands, so any new project will require federal permitting and environmental review under the National Environmental Policy Act, or NEPA. NEPA delays projects by eight years. Geothermal projects can be increased by 500% if the environmental review process is streamlined. In addition, the Department of Energy estimates that the United States can achieve 100 percent geothermal capacity by 2050. The Department of Energy should continue its research and development on new technologies, as well as develop a centralized permitting system through the Bureau of Land Management.
Supercritical water has greater enthalpy than water. It is hotter than steam and almost doubles the Carnot efficiency of electricity conversion. So, if geothermal energy is used at 400degC, it would produce 50MW of electricity and be 42 percent hotter than 200degC. It would require three wells and would only use a small fraction of the fluid needed. However, the amount of footprint would be much lower than the amount required with the previous method.
There are many other uses for geothermal energy besides electricity generation. It can be used for direct-use heating of buildings, for example, and even in fish farms and for pasteurizing milk. For this reason, geothermal is a perfect solution for green power. It is also a great solution for the struggling oil and gas industry. It is clean, and renewable, and it doesn't degrade the planet.
One of the major benefits of geothermal energy is its abundance and availability. It is available anywhere on Earth and uses less land than any other source of energy. In addition, geothermal energy plants can last for decades or even centuries if they are properly managed. A well-managed geothermal reservoir can balance the amount of energy extracted with the rate at which the rock is renewing heat. The process has few negative environmental effects compared to other methods of electricity generation.