Renewable Energy 101

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In conversations about the environment, “renewable energy” is one of those phrases you’re going to hear a lot. But what exactly does that mean? What are the benefits? And, most importantly, how does it affect you? The good news is that all these questions are fairly easy to answer. Starting right now, Renewable Energy class is in session!

What exactly does it mean? 

In the simplest terms, renewable energy is energy harnessed from sources that are constantly being replenished, like sun, wind and water. There are a variety of sources but essentially each one can be replenished on a human scale. While we think of renewable energy as a relatively new technology, harnessing nature for heating, transportation, lighting and more has been around for as long as humans have had energy needs. What’s different now is that we have developed increasingly innovative and less-expensive ways to access power from these renewable sources. 

Why does it matter? 

As it applies to energy, the word renewable essentially means “we’re not going to run out of it.” As far as we know, the sun will continue to shine, wind will continue to blow and water will continue to flow. 

But another important benefit of renewable energy is that most renewable energy sources produce little to no global warming emissions. Reducing so-called “greenhouse gases” is an important part of slowing climate change. 

There are also public health benefits to integrating more renewable energy. Air and water pollution from energy production are associated with a variety of health problems in humans. Wind, solar, and hydroelectric systems generate electricity with no associated air pollution emissions. Geothermal and biomass systems emit some air pollutants but the emissions are generally much lower than those of natural gas-fired power plants.

How is the technology changing? 

In 2021, it’s no secret we all have to do our part for the health of the planet and that includes industries, too. As costs of renewable energy production methods continue to drop and the industry continues to innovate, a clean energy future begins to look a lot more likely. 

In many areas you can now generate your own renewable energy – with solar cells or wind turbines – and sell the surplus back to your local energy company. And remember, when you fill up with Twice Daily Thrive, you’re investing in carbon offset projects. These projects take many forms: reforestation, solar power, and landfill gas capture are a few ways carbon can be captured, destroyed, or prevented from entering the atmosphere.