Green Energy Options and Other Major Changes in the Energy Market

So many things have changed about the energy market over the last several decades. Whereas in the mid-20th century it was generally thought that the entire fossil fuel system would continue to satisfy the global economy indefinitely just as it was, all that began to change-notably, with the onslaught of the 1973 Mideast Oil Crisis. These days, we are all increasingly aware of the fact that there need to be big changes in the energy sector, improving the energy prices we pay (which have soared to levels that are just not tolerable anymore) and spurring the development of energy solutions that offer long term environmental sustainability.

Green energy is something that attracts more and more attention in the media and which we all hope to see expand moving forward; all the same, it is worth asking yourself: “What am I actually doing to help support the cause of greener energy solutions?” It is time for energy consumers in their homes and at their places of business to start backing their talk up with decisive action, and there are many easy ways for them to do so. The most obvious thing to do: buy some solar panels and have them installed on the roof or out in the yard. While this is a course of action that is worth considering, it is only really a token gesture; to really help support the green energy cause on a larger scale, it is necessary to support the market players that are placing their bets on green technology and who are exceeding government regulations for such things as reductions in greenhouse gas emissions.

The most significant green programs happen to be focused around electricity on the grid and natural gas consumption: this is where you can really help the green cause out the most, whether at home or at your business establishment. Several visionary energy suppliers across North America-particularly in such places as Alberta, Canada-have created plans whereby their customers can obtain energy at competitive rates from companies with a proven green track record. For example, customers that decide to sign up for such plans who need to buy natural gas will have their supply come from a company that has accumulated carbon credits; when done on a massive scale, it is easy to imagine how this will strengthen the market position of companies that take carbon offsetting seriously, promoting an environmentally friendly trend that we all want to see deepened. Similarly, customers that sign up for such green energy plans as related to electricity off the grid will be causing more energy to be placed on the grid from sustainable, green sources (wind, water, and solar energy plants).

These are just some of the changes occurring today in the energy sector; it is time for us all to pay more attention to these changes and to support them wherever we can, whether in the form of energy savings for ourselves and others or in the form of greener solutions for the entire planet.

Renewable Energy: Options for Environmentally Conscious Homeowners

Renewable energy has become a realistic, practical and viable energy choice. There are many people whose perceptions have changed and likewise are prepared to stretch the envelope when it comes to supporting efforts to develop and adopt renewable sources of energy in light of concerns over the rising price of fossil fuels, the fact that these may one day run out, and the detrimental effects these fossil fuels have over the state of our environment.

As a result of these changing perceptions, governments have begun instituting policies and adopting programs that would develop and increase the use of renewable energy sources to reduce reliance on diminishing fossil fuels and protect the environment at the same time. On an individual level, people have also started taking matters into their own hands in support of these efforts. Just as people have made the decision to take the initiative and practice recycling garbage in their homes to clean the environment, we are currently in a situation where renewable energy options for householders have become a serious consideration and a viable option for implementation.

The same forms of renewable energy that governments are tapping into on a large scale to power or address national needs are also available to homeowners in smaller versions. The idea is to take an existing workable solution – namely renewable energy sources like tidal and wave energy machines harnessing the power of the oceans, or wind/water turbines usually used in coastal areas or on mountaintops, and convert this to a suitable version in your home, back garden (providing your garden is a viable and reasonable size) or farm. The same applies to solar power, which can be harnessed through installation of solar panels. These choices are varied and available to those homeowners who would prefer to use renewable energy.

A number of people have already gone out and done this on their own initiative. In certain areas, communities have also pooled resources to utilize renewable energy sources for their power needs, especially if they outside the national power grid and in remote areas. There are people however who have hesitated in pursuing this initiative due to financial considerations. There is some perception among some people that setting up a renewable power source in their homes or farms is an expensive proposition. Fortunately, that is not the case and there are existing technologies and equipment that make this a very practical and cost-effective option. Among those options are:

  • Solar photovoltaic (PV) panels generate electricity from the sun’s energy. These solar panels are suitable for many homes, as they only require daylight rather than direct sunlight. A home with a south, southeast or southwest roof that is shade free would be suitable for a solar technology system.
  • Solar thermal panels are different to PV panels as they collect the sun’s energy and use it to heat water. The panels run alongside conventional boilers. Solar energy can generate up to 65% of a household’s electricity and reduce carbon emissions by over a ton.
  • Biomass systems burn wood (pellets, chips and logs) to power heating systems and boilers. Homeowners can use wood burners or stoves as a biomass appliance to heat a room, if a whole system is not a viable option.
  • Micro combined heat and power (CHP) systems replace the conventional boiler system. The system burns gas to heat water, and produce electricity at the same time.
  • Geothermal heat pumps, which are also known as, ground source heat pumps, draw heat from the ground. They are able to extract the heat using pipes buried in the soil. This system warms the water in radiators and homeowners can use it in under floor heating systems.
  • Air source heat pumps draw heat from the air outside the building. The pumps use the heat to warm the air within the home, heat the water in radiators, and in under floor heating systems.
  • Micro hydro power is a combination of water pressure and flow. This system is like a smaller version of industrial hydro power plants. If there is a source of fast, running water, such as a stream or river in your garden, then you can install a small turbine to generate electricity.
  • Micro wind power has similar technology to that of wind farms, which are now becoming commonplace. The system harnesses wind energy through small turbines to generate electricity, but does require space for the turbine, so it would not be suitable for small gardens.

All these renewable energy sources are efficient enough to provide much of the energy needs for the average household. Some energy companies will even buy any surplus energy produced back from you at a preferential rate. For example, in the case of solar power you can use as much energy as you require during daylight hours. Any surplus energy will transfer to the energy company overnight. Every homeowner can make energy changes that help the environment, no matter how small, such as changing a boiler. For many years, people overlooked wood as a fuel. However, recent studies prove wood is an excellent source of renewable energy. Modern wood-burning boilers offer high efficiency with low emissions.

Wood is a carbon-neutral fuel with little to no net carbon emissions or corrosive gasses. It is even possible to convert old coal-fired boilers to wood burning boilers, with logs, wood chips, and pellets being the sources of fuel. As a bonus, homeowners can spread the waste potash on the garden as a fertilizer. Opting for a renewable energy source such as wood (biomass) forms a chain reaction as it helps the environment in other ways. It encourages the management of woodland, the establishment of densely planted short rotation coppice plantations, and the improvement of the biodiversity of woodland. Fossil fuels will eventually run out, and until that time, the cost of oil, gas, and coal is likely to rise. A renewable energy source offers several benefits. Besides making a positive contribution to the environment, you can save money. However, it is important to make an informed choice when adopting a renewable energy source to power your home.

Alternative Energy Options – Power Without Oil

What can we do if we were to run out of oil? It is not as if the thought has not cropped up before. The answer lies in various forms of alternative solutions. The latest energy options for alternative energy include wind energy and solar energy. These industries are growing at a rate that is more significant than any other time in history. First off, the sun is found to be the strongest source. During the years, many well-renowned individuals within the field of Science have taken advantage of the resource of the sun as a form of energy.

Solar power technology goes as far back in time as the beginnings of the early 19th century. It was during this time a physicist from France by the name of Becquerel made a sensational discovery. He found that an electric current could be manufactured when placing a light source over an electrode. While this was being done the electrode was covered with a solution that promoted conductivity. This was the advent of modern thinking with respect to solar energy.

An inventor from the United States by the name of Ohl created the silicon-based solar cell during the earliest part of the 40s. The silicon cell is what we are familiar with today. The crisis with respect to oil during the decade of the 70s got the world thinking again about the idea of solar energy. The idea of solar energy had been laid to rest in between times meaning the 40s and beginning of the 70s.It may be stated correctly we are in our infancy today with respect to solar energy.

However as we go along it is obvious, we are placing solar energy and alternative energy sources on a high priority list. The best minds the world over are wishing to reach the objective of a more secure world in the way of energy efficiency by manufacturing energy that is friendlier from an environmental standpoint. The term “going green” is a prevalent theme as it pertains to a world becoming more and more environmentally aware of developing products and energy that keep the world safe for generations to come.

Larger entities are now buying businesses which make it their specialty to produce parts manufactured for wind and solar energy. An example of an alternative energy parts manufacturer is an enterprise producing parts for wind-style turbines. The green philosophy in the way of parts manufactured especially for alternative energy devices is supplying new jobs for thousands of persons.

The auto makers are constructing automobiles operated by electricity. The cars being produced using electricity include very compact-style cars all the way up the ranks to SUVs. The objective is to manufacture automobiles and/or trucks which provide alternative means of power outside of what has been the provincial standard over the years. Whichever form it takes alternative sources of energy are needed because many individuals will tell you, it is only a matter of time before our reserves of oil are all tapped out.