Renewable energy was once a small segment of the energy industry. But it is growing at an unprecedented rate to become a crucial source of energy in many regions of the world. The companies within this industry provide renewable and clean energy including geothermal, hydroelectric, wind, solar, and biomass.
Although the biggest renewable companies are located in Denmark and Spain, other big players are located in the US, Canada, and China. Switching to a green electricity provider has never been easier, thanks to the growing number of companies. These days, it isn’t hard to find a supplier that provides 100% green electricity.
What are the benefits of green energy?
These days, lots of green energy sources are made available to common people. But most of them aren’t used by the masses even though green energy has plenty of benefits compared to the other traditional forms of nonrenewable energy.
The different types of green energy include solar, wind, geothermal, and hydropower. Although not all these energy sources can indeed work better in all climates, each of them has benefits of its own. Here are some important benefits of choosing green energy.
1. Improve health – Many kinds of health risks are associated with nonrenewable energy sources as they continue to contaminate soil, water, and air. And, these are quite harmful to children. However, green energy sources don’t emit the same amount of pollutants. That way, it helps improve the overall health of the people.
2. Increased reliability – When it is about severe weather conditions, a green energy source is more reliable in terms of causing catastrophic repercussions. For example, both wind and solar energy store energy as reserves to be used later in the case of any kind of harmful weather conditions.
3. Refreshed energy sources – While green energy is scarcely available, it can be replenished. Plants, water, heat, and the sun are sources of green energy. All of them are easy to access and replenish compared to the nonrenewable sources of fossil fuels. Using the green energy is crucial for the environment, too.
4. Decrease harmful emissions – The energy release from green sources indeed have minimal harmful emissions. Whereas, nonrenewable sources tend to release emissions leading to global warming. And, continued emissions further lead to climate changes that are hazardous to both humans and the environment.
5. Consistency in energy prices – Because of the costs of nonrenewable energy sources, there arises confusion and uncertainty worldwide. But green energy helps to keep the prices stable. Other than the upfront cost of building the energy sources, the average cost of running and maintaining them remains constant and low compared to conventional fossil fuels.
6. Stimulates the economy – While nonrenewable energy sources are mechanized, green energy sources require laborers to work on them. As such, there can be more jobs. And, more jobs mean a better economy. Although the industry employed many people worldwide, there are endless opportunities.
Advantages and disadvantages of green energy:
Using green energy over traditional fossil fuels has a lot of advantages. Here are some of them.
- Saves money – Using green energy saves you money in the long term. You can save on both operating and maintenance costs. When you use a technology that derives power from wind, sun, and other natural resources, you don’t need to pay for a refuel.
- Green energy stays forever – Because green energy comes straight from the environment to generate power, it won’t run of shortages. Unlike difficulty in obtaining in the case of fossil fuels, green energy sources are found easily in nature.
- Low maintenance – In most cases, green energy requires less maintenance than conventional fuel sources. That’s because energy derived from a wind turbine and solar panels need fewer moving parts. And, they don’t rely on combustible fuel to function.
- Environmental and health benefits – Green energy doesn’t emit pollutants or greenhouse gases into the air. With a lesser carbon footprint, the negative impact on the environment decreases. There won’t be any kind of pollutants that causes cardiac and respiratory issues.
- Less dependency on foreign energy sources – The more you utilize green energy for your power needs, the less you have to depend on imported energy.
While there are some great advantages of using green energy, there are some disadvantages associated with it. Here are some of them.
- Geographical limitations – The US has a variety of geographical conditions, and some are more suitable for green energy than others. For example, a big farm is suitable for erecting a residential solar energy system or wind turbine. But in cities, the area gets covered by tall buildings. Also, some days will be windier or sunnier, and not every day. As such, you won’t reap the benefits of the technology full-fledged.
- Upfront costs are higher – Although you can save money by utilizing green energy, these technologies are expensive upfront. However, there are certain financial perks such as tax rebates and credits to combat the situation.
- Storage capabilities – With the rise of green energy, storage technologies are available today. But they are quite expensive, especially for a large setup. However, it can be expected that batteries would be more affordable in the days to come.
How do green energy providers produce their electricity?
The move to green energy is inevitable with millions of consumers switching from the traditional means of generating power to a greener one. With the rise of the global population, the demand for electricity to power homes, communities, and businesses has increased drastically.
However, in most cases, consumers are misled regarding the tariffs of green electricity. As such, they are supporting fossil fuels. 100% green energy means that the electricity you are buying is derived from hydroelectric power stations and wind farms. Studies have shown that green energy sources make up around 26% of electricity worldwide.
And, it is expected to reach around 30% by 2024. Green energy providers produce electricity from renewable and natural sources. Unlike the electricity derived from fossil fuels, green electricity won’t run out. Most of the providers generate electrical power through geothermal energy, hydraulic energy, solar energy, biomass, and wind energy.
How can I switch to these providers?
So, now that you have got an idea about green electricity, it’s time to know how you can sign up to the providers and reduce your carbon footprint. Well, you can, but the procedures are a bit different than you have anticipated. That’s because providers can’t send green electricity directly to your household.
After electricity gets into the grid, providers can’t distinguish between the electricity produced by wind farms, solar farms, nuclear plants, hydroelectric, or fossil fuels. However, there is a solution to it. Providers came up with a document called renewable energy certificates. Each certificate represents a certain amount of electricity that was generated from green energy sources.
When the providers produce that electricity, they are given certificates. And, those certificates mean they can sell power to consumers. Therefore, when you are signing for green electricity, you are buying green energy certificates. So, if you are from a state with a deregulated energy system, you can opt for a renewable energy provider.
Those deals with the provider may costs you a bit more than traditional forms of utility bills. Although prices vary, an average household should have to pay a few extra dollars each month on the utility bills. If you are living in a state that has a regulated power system, you can’t choose your provider.
But you can buy online renewable energy certificates and help supporting green electricity. Another thing you need to consider is that the prevailing market for such certificates is unregulated. It means, the Government isn’t watching the providers to know whether they are delivering the promise they made.
However, there is a special body that keeps an eye on renewable electricity projects called Green-e. It does two crucial things.it makes sure that the electricity comes from renewable sources, and the certificates aren’t counted more than one. It is recommended to buy from providers holding a Green-e certificate.
What are the costs?
The deduction in the usage of fossil fuels might appear to be the best alternative to save the environment. But can everybody afford to buy renewable energy? If so, then how much is the true cost of green electricity? In 2019, the IRENA (International Renewable Energy Agency) showed that prices of renewable energy sources are comparable to that of fossil fuels.
Another article listed in Forbes explains the phenomenon further. It says that the electricity cost derived from fossil fuel plants ranges between $0.05 per kWh and $0.15 per kWh. When it was compared to green energy it showed that hydroelectric power comes at an average of about $0.05 per kWh, offshore wind at around $0.13 kWh, and onshore wind, biomass, solar and geothermal way below $0.10 kWh.
What’s more interesting is the fact that the overall cost of green energy is falling day by day and would continue to do so because of infrastructure improvement. Wind power is falling by around 9% and solar power by around 13%.
So, in comparison to coal, which is for $102 per MWh, here are the average green energy pricing:
- Hydropower for $85 per MWh
- Solar power for $37 per MWh
- Wind power for $20 per MWh
Shortly, the costs of alternative energy would fall drastically. Capacity is increasing on one hand, and technology is evolving on the other hand. Hence, devices and appliances would become more energy efficient. Energy sources that are infinite and clean as opposed to finite and filthy fossil fuels are more to be accepted everywhere.
It’s like the world would be saved from a catastrophic climatic change. Whatever changes occur on a small scale, the bigger would be the demand for green energy, and the faster the change would be visible. It is believed that there would be renewable energy by 2032 worldwide.
Which green electricity providers are there in the USA?
1. Ambit Energy – It was in the year 2010 that a well-renowned magazine named Ambit Energy as one of the fastest-growing green electricity providers in the US. The company believes in the philosophy to provide better cost-effective choices to consumers when it comes to natural gas and electricity in a deregulated green energy market.
Founded in 2006, Ambit Energy has its headquarters in Dallas, Texas. The areas served by the company include Ohio, Washington DC, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Maine, Delaware, and so on. In 2008, Ambit Energy earned revenues of around $200 million and about $325 million in the year 2009. Because of its tremendous growth, the Company was ranked among the best fastest-growing companies.
The top-rated consumer support system delivers great service access, usage, and unmatched billing. The consumer care team delivers good service by responding and solving the queries of its valued users. Here is their website.
2. 4Change Energy – Based out of Dallas, Texas, 4Change Energy is a green electricity provider. The Company believes everyone should access renewable energy and made it affordable to increase the number of users. Also, the Company believes that good electricity benefits the area to a great extent. It’s interesting to learn that 4Change Energy gives around 4% of its annual profit to a few charitable organizations.
The charities include the American Cancer Society, Feeding Texas, Heroes for Children, and American Red Cross. 4Change Energy makes charitable donations whenever consumers sign up for their services. One of the greatest advantages of this green electricity provider is that they have fast service with a much lower rate compared to others.
Consumer satisfaction is a very aspect for any kind of company, and 4Change Energy is no exception. Regarding the consumer support system, the Company is the proud owner of a few awards. It represents how the executives are determined to give prompt service to their users. You can check out their website here.
3. AEP Energy – Operating in six states alongside Washington DC, AEP Energy is a retail natural gas and electricity supply provider. The Company has its presence in 27 service territories across the US. AEP Energy has successfully supplied natural gas and electricity solutions to over 460,000 business and residential consumers.
The Company takes pride in making things easier for users to buy their products, manage services, and make good use of green energy. Founded in 2002, the Company is based in Chicago and Columbus. AEP Energy believes in providing good renewable energy solutions to people living in the US.
Therefore, the Company is dedicated to serving its consumers with innovation, value, and many years of experience in the energy industry. AEP Energy is one of the biggest electric utilities in the USA and ranked 185 in Fortune 500 Companies. You can create an account here.
4. Champion Energy Services – Founded in 2004, Champion Energy Services has become one of the fastest evolving green energy providers within the US. Champion Energy Services is a retail electricity provider serving the needs of various industrial, commercial, and residential consumers in the deregulated green energy industry in Texas.
Champion Energy Services provides an array of services intended for both residential and commercial consumers. The Company has a very affordable electricity rate, an amazing consumer support system, straightforward bills, and no hidden charges or fees. Champion Energy Services serves over 2 million residential users that equal to a load of around 4500 megawatts.
Backed by Calpine, a Fortune 500 company, Champion Energy Services is one of the cleanest power generators you can find in the US. With a financially strong background, the Company purchases wholesale power over others in its class. The areas served by the Company include New Jersey, Ohio, Maine, Connecticut, Maryland, Pennsylvania, New York, and so on. Visit their website for more information. Or you can find here more info’s about champion energy.
5. Direct Energy – Dubbed as one of the largest green electricity providers in entire North America, Direct Energy is proud to have served over 5 million consumers within North America. Direct Energy is one of the few green electricity providers that has served in all the states of the US and 10 provinces of Canada.
In 2000, a British utility company named Centrica acquired Direct Energy to expand and grow the renewable energy supply market. Apart from supplying natural gas and green energy, the company has a variety of home protection plans.
Speaking about the consumer support system, the representatives at the Company provide cost-effective pricing. Many users have praised the Company for their competitive prices along with excellent consumer service. Also, the Company provides intuitive tools and devices that help consumers maintain their electricity consumption. Check out their website to know more.
6. IGS Energy – A leading supplier of natural gas and electricity, IGS (Interstate Gas Supply) Energy rates are affordably priced. The Company provides consumers with different types of plans so that they can shop around and choose a plan that fits their lifestyle. It is a family-owned company and has been in this industry for about 25 years.
IGS Energy has more than 1 million satisfied consumers. The secret behind providing competitive rates to valued consumers is pretty simple. IGS Energy purchases natural gas and electricity from a variety of energy sources and sometimes with better rates compared to the local utility.
As such, they can pass a meager amount of their savings to you in the form of competitive rates. IGS Energy is a large company with many separate divisions. The Company’s objective is to bring simplicity, transparency, and ease of access to green electricity along with decent pricing. To know more about their plans, visit their official website here.
In which regions of the USA is green electricity available?
The US is dependent solely on fossil fuels for energy production. Fossil fuels include coal, oil, and natural gas. But this traditional way of generating power is now changing because of many green energy initiatives taken at the state level.
There has been an increase in renewable energy resources and the state leaders are pushing other states for utilizing clean and finite energy solutions. Almost every region in the US has green electricity available. Here are some states that use the most renewable energy.
- Nebraska – With over 19% renewable energy, Nebraska mostly uses hydropower and wind as renewable sources. Many cities in this region are investing heavily in solar energy devices.
- Vermont – With more than 25% renewable energy, Vermont is focused more on increasing the solar photovoltaic capacity.
- Iowa – With over 28% renewable energy, Iowa is the biggest producer of ethanol in the USA. Wind power is utilized more in this region.
- Montana – Pioneer in developing hydroelectric power, Montana has renewable energy of more than 31%. Also, the region has huge deposits of coal and accounts for 5% of the country’s coal production.
- South Dakota – In 2017, South Dakota generated over 40% of its electricity with the help of hydroelectric power. South Dakota has renewable energy of around 35%, and about 30% of the overall electricity was the result of wind power.
- Maine – Around 90% of the wooded territory in Maine helps to produce biomass fuel as a prominent energy resource. The renewable energy is at 36%. In 2017, about 75% of the state’s electricity came from renewable sources such as wind (20%), biomass (26%), and hydropower (30%).
- Washington – About 25% of the overall US production of renewable energy, Washington leads the way in hydroelectric energy production. The state has renewable energy of around 44%.
- Oregon – About 71% of Oregon’s net electricity comes from renewable energy resources. Oregon’s wind farms have more than 1900 turbines and generate over 3200 megawatts of wind power capacity.
When is a change to green energy worthwhile?
The world relies heavily on traditional fossil fuels for generating power. But things have changed gradually and with the advent of technology, renewable energy sources are gaining more traction these days. Until recently, people understood the threat that climate and pollution posed to the way of life.
A shift from the conventional ways of utilizing energy to a cleaner means of energy is the need of the hour. That’s how the recent developments in alternative power sources started evolving. And, this acceleration has now reached a decent height where it might happen that the world is becoming ready to phase out the usage of crude oil, natural gas, and coal.
While the decrease in fossil fuel usage is desirable for the environment but is the change worthwhile? Is green energy cost-effective? The question isn’t that simple to answer. Because it has a vast spectrum of things to consider.
For many people, the answer is affirmative and they feel that the changes are worth it. There is no question that fossil fuels are going to run out sooner or later. And, whether these supplies last for another 50 or 100 years, it doesn’t mean that the way of life would change drastically if there is no gas, electricity, or fuel.
In the same way, people around the world are feeling the changes in the weather. Some places aren’t getting little to no snow during the winter months, and dry-spells and immense high temperature in the summer. Humans need to do something or the world’s climate would become worse. Hence, a change is worthwhile at the moment.
Which electricity provider produces electricity with solar energy, which with wind power, and which with hydropower?
It is very tough to find out which green energy service provider delivers electricity derived from hydropower, wind power, or solar power. The aforementioned electricity provider is companies that tend to purchase power from different a variety of producers who generate electricity through renewable methods. These methods include wind power, solar power, hydropower, and biomass.
The aforementioned companies buy green energy from the corporates through the PPAs (Power Purchase agreement) and sell directly to the consumers in the retail market. PPAs are one type of contract where energy is sold directly to industrial consumers and big companies through supply contracts that can continue from 10 to 20 years. Therefore, it is not possible to say what type of energy is distributed to you in the form of green electricity.
Is it more expensive for me as a consumer to buy green electricity?
The electricity industry is witnessing major changes in recent years, and these changes are for good. Also, it is seen that about 50% of consumers believe to buy renewable energy directly from the power suppliers. And, everyone can purchase renewable energy certificates, too.
When it comes to the pricing of renewable energy, it is seen that they are quite expensive. But the main question is that how much it can cost you as a consumer to switch to green energy. If you compare the costs of using renewable electricity with the traditional methods of generating energy, it is almost the same.
At this point, renewable energy sources are evolving day after day because of modern technology and the latest appliances and devices. Also, there are some problems associated with the storage of green energy. Battery technology is improving and more storage facilities would crop p in the future, making it cost-effective to use green power.
Although a bit expensive for you as of now, you can join the movement and buy green electricity. Green electricity is about to revolutionize the world. Having an energy source that is clean and finite is a game-changer. And, you can use this energy without hampering the weather and environment.
Am I helping nature in this way?
By accepting green electricity, you are helping nature in a big way. With loads of human activities around, the atmosphere is filled with carbon dioxide. As such, it gave rise to global warming emissions. The gases behave like a massive blanket and trap heat.
And, most of the carbon dioxide emissions are the result of burning fossil fuels such as natural gas and coal. In comparison, green energy produces very less global warming emissions. When you increase the usage of renewable energy, it helps to lower global warming emissions.
Water and air pollution, on the other hand, are linked to different kinds of health problems. These include neurological damage, breathing issues, cancer, heart attacks, and even death. Hydroelectric, wind and solar power systems generate electricity without causing pollution to nature. And, by using these energy sources, you are helping nature in a great way.
Moreover, solar and wind energy don’t require water to function properly. As a result, there would be no water pollution. But fossil fuels such as natural gas and coal pollute sources of water. Sunny skies, heat from the earth, strong winds, fast-moving water, and plant matter provide a wide variety of clean energy.
Does it make sense for me to produce electricity myself? If yes how?
Apart from the concept of saving money, it is worthy of thinking about generating your power source. It is good for the environment, and you can improve your finances, too. However, if you build your power source, you need some of the traditional sources of energy.
But you don’t have to use them much and say goodbye to massive electricity bills. Also, the ability to generate your green power isn’t dependent only on your willingness to spend a fortune on the infrastructure. The type of building, location, and consent from the local planning authority are some crucial factors.
There are different ways of generating power at home. You can make use of solar panels and small wind turbines to generate electricity. If you have a small stream, you can use hydro technology and generate electricity.
Also, it is worthy to consider battery storage when you are planning to generate your power supply. Batteries allow you to store electricity that you can use later when you need it. Keep in your mind that all the aforementioned ways of generating electricity can give power to small electrical appliances.
Green electricity is generated from renewable sources rather than from burning fossil fuels such as gas and coal. This kind of electricity is produced by using wind, wave, solar, tidal, and hydroelectric power. Renewable energy is cost-effective and cheaper than fossil fuels. Costs of renewable energy will continue to fall with the introduction of the latest technologies. Green electricity is sure to revolutionize the world.