What Is Clean Energy?

clean energy

Simply expressed, “clean” energy is energy produced without the release of dangerous greenhouse gases–carbon dioxide, nitrogen oxide, methane, and the like–or other detriments to the environment.

Most of the “clean” sources of energy we think of today are also renewable. These “renewables” include sources that are inexhaustible as we know them to exist in nature: wind, the sunlight that produces solar power, the strength of the earth’s tides, the water power that drives hydroelectric plants, and the geothermal energy that flows from the earth’s core.

Another developing and potentially important source of clean energy is the bioenergy derived from the activities of algae and other living things. Food waste products and fermented crops also count as sources of bioenergy, which is finding its most practical applications in the production of transportation fuel.

Reducing Dangerous Emissions for a Cleaner World

The production of electricity from clean energy sources contributes only minimally, if at all, to global warming and other types of climate change. This is basically the opposite of the situation that results from the use of “dirty” sources–oil, gas, and coal-derived from fossil fuels.

And with fewer of these “dirty” pollutants finding their way into the air, water, and soil, humans come into contact with fewer substances that can cause or aggravate a wide range of health issues.

Biomass Energy

Another nuance to the clean energy picture involves biomass energy, in which the burning of organic material from plants and animals releases electricity-generating chemical energy. While biomass has become an important component of today’s energy grid as a means of reducing reliance on fossil fuels, it is not, strictly speaking, a “clean” energy source.

In many cases, biomass can offer a greener alternative, but recent studies have shown that burning some types of biomass material results in greater amounts of carbon emissions than the burning of fossil fuels. The worst offender in this regard is forest biomass.

However, other types of biomass make “clean” sense as part of an overall energy plan. The wood chips and sawdust produced by sawmills would otherwise be wasted through quick decomposition that would itself generate increased carbon. But when harvested as part of a biomass energy program, these sawmill byproducts can serve as reliable producers of low-carbon energy.

The Future of Energy

American energy customers drew about 20 percent of their electricity from renewable sources and another 20 percent from nuclear power in 2020. Moreover, in the first quarter of 2020, year-over-year figures showing the overall global utilization of renewable energy sources rose by approximately 1.5 percent. Over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic, experts have noted that the renewable energy industry has been the most resilient in the face of national and local lockdown strictures, with the demand for, and the provision of, renewables remaining basically unaltered under these novel conditions.

The production and use of clean energy is part of a global response to the urgent need to stem climate change, preserve natural resources, safeguard human health, and evade multiple types of large-scale environmental catastrophes. In particular, the diversification of the world’s energy grids through incorporating a variety of different power plants and energy types increases the resilience of national grids and energy security. Verde offers green energy to its customer, find your plan today.