What Is Green Energy?
A Primer on Green and Renewable Energy for Electricity Customers
If you’re an electricity consumer who wants to reduce their carbon footprint and make more environmentally conscious decisions, you’ll probably choose a green plan when signing up for electricity. Before you do that, though, it’s important you know exactly what green energy is. For instance, even though all green power is renewable, not all renewable energy is considered green.
To help you make smarter, more informed decisions about choosing a green electricity plan for your home, it’s important to develop a working understanding of green and renewable energy.
While many people commonly equate the two, green energy is technically a subsection of renewable energy. The distinctions are pretty clear.
Renewable energy distinguishes itself from “conventional” power because it can be renewed, and it’s inexhaustible. Conventional power is produced from fossil fuels that exist in finite amounts, including coal, oil, and natural gas, while renewable energy can be easily restored over a short period of time.
However, similar to conventional power, some sources of renewable energy can and do have environmental impacts. For example, hydroelectric systems can impact bodies of water, the land around them, and the species that reside in them. Green energy, as defined by the EPA, includes electricity derived from sources such as solar, geothermal, wind, biomass, biogas, and other low-impact hydroelectric systems. Green power is considered the most beneficial electricity supply, as it provides the greatest benefits to the environment and with little to no impact.
Like conventional energy, we can obtain green energy from a variety of sources, including:
While conventional energy is often described as “dirty” because creating it produces greenhouse gases, green energy is considered “clean” as it represents energy sources that emit little or no emissions when creating electricity. The three chief benefits for increasing the production of green energy in the electricity marketplace include:
The transition to clean energy is happening now, and Texas retail electricity providers (REPs) like Chariot Energy are leading the way. They help the public transition to this new way of thinking by providing education and incentives showcasing the efficacy and reliability of renewable energy resources.
According to a recent report by the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis, the U.S. renewable energy sector generated produced more electricity than coal-fired plants did in April 2019. As coal use for electricity generation continues to dwindle, it’s being replaced by greener and cleaner options. These include natural gas, currently America’s largest source of power, and hydropower, which produced approximately 7 percent of total U.S. electricity in 2018.
Currently, renewable energy creates nearly 20 percent of all U.S. electricity. In comparison, coal produced approximately 27 percent of U.S. electricity in 2018. That’s only a 7 percent difference – and it continues to shrink!
When you purchase a green electricity plan from a company like Chariot, you’re helping the Texas energy industry continue its shift to renewable energy. This lowers greenhouse gas emissions, supports the development of renewable energy infrastructure, and sends a message to both generators and REPs that the future of electricity in the United States is, indeed, green.