What exactly is Green energy?

I’m sure that most people would have heard of the term ‘green energy’ at some point or other in the last decade or so, but when we really think about it… do we fully understand the meaning of the term? It would be worth hazarding a guess that the majority of people understand the term to mean an alternative energy source that doesn’t utilise our ever depleting supply of fossil fuels, that is also renewable and more importantly, sustainable. In a way they would be right, but if you dig a little deeper there is more to it than that.

Nuclear power

Some critics argue that nuclear power comes under the green energy umbrella, as it is a renewable energy source and it is also sustainable. Therefore this meets the criteria for green energy. However  organizations such as Greenpeace do not agree as they say that it carries with it a significant risk to both humans and the environment we live in.

Carbon Capture and storage

Carbon capture and storage (otherwise known as CSS) is also a debatable green energy topic because although it doesn’t directly use fossil fuels, what it does do is to capture and store the carbon emissions that are burned by the power plant before they travel into the atmosphere. Although this is good for the environment, the carbon still has to be stored somewhere and  companies do this  by turning it back into a liquid and pumping it back deep into the sea bed.

The true meaning of green energy

As you can see this term can be slightly ambiguous and is fairly broad, and even if you check the internet, there are still differing explanations of what ‘green energy’ really is. With this being the case one has to be very careful in their choice of words. For many people the ideal ‘green energy’ would be an energy source that utilises our natural resources with very little pollution, that is also completely renewable and sustainable

So what would make an ideal green energy?

‘True’ green energy sources utilise the power of the sun, winds, tidal movements and also the natural heat of the earth. Good examples of this would be solar power using panels, wind energy utilizing large wind turbines, wave and tidal energy using hydro-power technology and also geothermal energy which harnesses the power of the earth’s heat. All of these methods utilise completely natural resources which are not likely to ever run out and by harnessing the power of them there will be little  pollution.

It is worth noting at this point that no power source is completely pollution free. Even from the point of construction of the plants that turn these natural resources into power, there simply is no ‘pollution free’ solution. Some people tend to object to any power plant on the grounds of cost, and other say that it can be an eyesore and ruin the natural beauty of the surrounding area. Whilst all of these things are probably true, one thing is for sure…we cannot rely on fossil fuels forever and we have to find other ways of producing energy before it’s too late.

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