Valentine’s Day is all about love. What does that mean for us at NRG Community Solar? Well, we have a strong passion for clean energy and environmental sustainability. We’re on a mission to make renewable energy available through a practical, hassle-free solar program. Like you, we love convenience. And we love our customers that come together as a community to reduce dependence on fossil fuels. Our focus on solar power stems from our dedication to renewable energy. Once you know all the resources our planet offers to harness renewable power, it’s easy to fall in love. Let’s take a look at the different types of renewable power sources and why they matter.
The object of our affection: renewable energy
Traditional energy sources like coal, oil, and natural gas, known as fossil fuels, are finite resources that will eventually run out. At some point, it will be too expensive or too damaging to our planet to continue tapping into fossil fuels. Renewable energy sources, on the other hand, regenerate. The five most common types are biomass, hydropower, geothermal, wind, and solar. Renewable energy technology has advanced to help us capture energy from natural forces that are continually replenished and can never be depleted.
Let’s take a closer look at the different types of renewable energy. Our starting point is the all-powerful sun, which directly or indirectly supplies most types of renewable energy.
Plants absorb the sun’s power through photosynthesis, a process where sunlight is converted into chemical energy. Biomass energy, which contains stored energy from the sun, from plant matter (think wood, crops, even garbage) and animal matter can be burned for heat and electricity or converted to fuel.
Moving water is powerful. Hydroelectric power uses dams to harness the energy in moving water for electricity and is the largest source of renewable energy in the United States and the world.
Geothermal energy is generated by the heat of the earth’s core.
Renewable energy spreads love for our planet and communities
Most renewable energy sources produce little or no greenhouse emissions. Solar, wind, and hydroelectric energy systems create electricity without emitting air pollutants. Although geothermal and biomass systems emit some air pollutants, it is less than some traditional power plants.
Another benefit of renewable energy is that it helps communities by adding jobs. Compared with fossil fuel technologies, which rely more on machinery and capital, renewable energy technologies need more labor. Solar panels need workers for installation and wind farms need technicians for maintenance, for example. According to the latest national statistics, the renewable energy industry currently supports nearly half a million jobs.
The passion for renewable energy is growing
As it turns out, many feel strongly about renewable energy, and its use in the United States has jumped in the last two decades. Solar energy use alone went up by 38% between 2015 and 2016, while wind energy rose by 19% in the same period, due to better technology, lower production costs, and government incentives. Right now, about 10% of all energy used in this country comes from renewable energy, and 13.4% of our electricity is produced via renewable sources. The renewable share of total world energy consumption is expected to rise from 10.6% in 2009 to 14.5% in 2040.
A really exciting trend in the United States is how so many states are adopting policies for cleaner energy and sustainability. Sure, it’s no surprise that California is ranked number 1 overall in clean energy—including electric vehicle adoption, residential solar use, and renewable power generation. But did you know that smaller states like Rhode Island and Massachusetts also ranked high in energy efficiency? Or that states like Kansas, South Dakota, Wyoming, and North Dakota, Alaska, and Idaho (some known for coal production) are all leading the way in adopting renewable energy technologies?
Showing love for renewable energy
At NRG Community Solar, we simply can’t envision a future without renewable energy. That’s why we work hard to make it easier for everyone to support renewable solar energy. We hope you feel as inspired as we do!
Happy Valentine’s Day!