Many Texans are increasingly concerned about non-renewable energy. These sources drain natural resources and wreak havoc on local environments. More Texas homes and businesses are instead focusing on renewable energy, such as solar panels and turbines.
Although many Texans don’t use renewable energy because they think it’s expensive, wind power, for example, is cost-competitive with coal and natural gas plants. Many indirect renewable resources are being harnessed to generate electricity in a clean, environmentally-friendly manner.
What Makes Electricity Clean?
Clean electricity uses renewable resources. For instance, a turbine rotor can move from about 18 revolutions a minute to roughly 1,800 revolutions per minute. This activates the turbine’s generator and produces electricity.
Energy that uses non-renewable resources depletes natural resources such as coal, oil, or natural gas. Also, these forms of energy release particles that can pollute the air, water, and land. Thus, many homeowners and businesses are considering an energy plan that derives electricity from renewable resources.
How is Clean Electricity Generated?
According to the U.S. Department of Energy, there are seven primary clean energy sources:
- Hydrogen & Fuel Cells
But not all clean energy sources have an equal environmental impact:
- Solar-powered Electricity- Two technologies convert the sun’s power into electricity. The first, photovoltaics (P.V.), uses solar panels. The other technology is concentrating solar power (CSP). It uses mirrors that reflect and concentrate sunlight onto receivers. This technology is generally what clean large scale utility providers use. While there are no global warming emissions involved in producing electricity this way, it can use up valuable land. Still, most estimates show that producing electricity with solar power has far fewer emissions than natural gas.
- Wind-powered Electricity- Wind turbines collect the wind’s kinetic energy and convert it to electricity that power the utility grid. From there, the electricity is sent out to businesses, homes, and schools. Though wind power is probably the cleanest way to generate electricity, it is not without environmental impact. Turbines make a lot of noise, and this can affect wildlife, particularly birds.
- Hydro-powered Electricity- Hydropower uses the kinetic energy of flowing water to generate electricity. In a hydro-powered system, water is stored behind a dam and released when needed. Because the water has to move with sufficient speed and volume to generate electricity, water power often involves a dam or diversion structure to alter a body of water’s natural flow. This means changing the flow patterns of a water body, which can cause flooding and affect fish and other wildlife.
- Nuclear-powered electricity- According to the U.S. Department of Energy, roughly 20 percent of electricity in the U.S. is generated by nuclear power.While the process involves uranium, a renewable resource, uranium is radioactive, generating radioactive waste. This poses a risk to the environment and human health.
How is Clean Electricity Distributed?
Most Americans receive their electricity from the electric power grid, a centralized power plant that generates and moves the electricity to consumers. Though many of these plants use non-renewable energy, more and more plants are generating electricity cleanly. Click here to learn more about clean electric Texas providers.
Once generated at the centralized plant, electricity travels through interconnected high-voltage transmission lines to a “step-down” substation. Here, the voltage is lowered and sent through distribution lines to businesses, homes, and schools. Utility companies and other grid operators work together to supply electricity where and when it is needed.
Utility companies around the country have begun transitioning to clean power by investing in new solutions. Traditional fossil fuel technologies are more likely to be mechanized while converting renewable energy into electricity is more labor-intensive. For each electricity unit created from renewable sources, more jobs are created than when fossil fuels generate that same unit.
Choose to be Clean
More Texans are starting to rely on and demand clean energy from their local businesses. Not only is it good for the environment, but there are several economic incentives for Texans to switch over. One popular program is green pricing, where customers pay a small premium in exchange for electricity generated from clean sources, choosing a supplier whose mission is to provide clean energy. Such programs are helping Texans keep their environment safe and protect their natural resources.