Is Green Energy Really Clean Energy?

By: | March 1st, 2017

Environmentally Friendly Energy

The definition of renewable is simple: is the resource naturally replenished in nature? In other words, do sunlight, wind, rain, tides, and geothermal heat produce clean, green energy?

Currently, these forms of energy, part of the clean energy revolution, are generating hundreds of billions of dollars in economic activity and are expected to continue to grow significantly far into the future. Clean energy technology is currently providing countries and companies that invent and manufacture clean energy with a significant boost to economic activity and wealth.

The following chart is typical of most of the above mentioned renewable energy sources. The cost per kilowatt hour is going down as the installation of gigawatts (GW) of capacity is going up, in this case, in wind energy.

Renewable Really is Clean & Green

According to Greenpeace, there are six renewable energy myths:

  1. Renewable energy is too expensive: Actually, there are many hidden costs to coal and nuclear energy and the environmental impacts of fossil fuels are obvious. It appears renewable technologies are the most economical solutions for long-term sustainability and clean energy.
  2. Renewable energy can never be big enough to supply the world’s needs: According to a number of studies, about 80% all of the world’s energy needs could be met by renewable energy by 2050.
  3. Renewable energy cannot supply electricity 24/7: With improvements in battery technology, this is a temporary situation. Also, with a mix of renewable energy sources, intelligent technologies to track and manage usage patterns, and a better global network of utilities and virtual power plants, 24/7 coverage is doable.
  4. Electricity grids cannot handle renewable energy: As mentioned above, smart grids can connect and switch between a number of energy sources, mostly renewables, and grids are being modernized to handle these new sources of energy.
  5. Renewable energy is bad for the environment: Greenpeace sites birds and bats, noise, land use, and footprint as reasons that renewable energy is bad. But these are all red herrings.
  6. Environmentalists want to turn off all coal, nuclear, and fossil fuel energy sources today: In fact, most scientists and environmentalists understand the need for a gradual transition from dirty to clean renewable energy. All of these technologies require increased efficiency, more investments, and when the time comes, the traditional sources of energy will be phased out as they reach the ends of their useful lifetimes.

Certainly, energy sources like biomass and biofuels have the potential to have byproducts that could cause pollution. As these technologies are in their infancy, it is expected that over time this problem will be solvable.

In the following video, Elon Musk explains why we must move to renewable energy.

David Russell Schilling

David enjoys research and writing about cutting edge technologies that hold the promise of improving conditions for all life on planet earth.

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