Why is Clean Energy Important?
Our world runs on the energy we produce. Clean energy production allows us to generate the energy we need without the greenhouse gas emissions and negative environmental effects that come with fossil fuels, in turn helping to reduce climate change.
What are greenhouse gases? Put simply, they’re gases that trap heat in the Earth’s atmosphere. The greenhouse gases that get released during fossil fuel combustion are one of the largest contributors to increasing CO2 levels. For example, coal was used to create about 10 percent of the energy consumed in America in 2020. That same year, coal was responsible for about 19 percent of total annual CO2 emissions.
The more we’re able to reduce our carbon footprint and rely on clean and renewable sources of energy, the better chance we’ll have of mitigating the effects of climate change and preserving our planet for future generations.
Examples of Clean Energy
When discussing clean energy, the conversation isn’t limited to wind power vs. solar energy. There are other types of clean energy beyond just wind turbines and solar panels. Clean energy can be sourced through nuclear resources, wind, the power of the sun and even water. The following are examples of clean energy
Nuclear energy is generated through a process called nuclear fission. First, atoms are split apart to form smaller atoms, creating heat in the process. The heat that’s created is then used to boil water into steam, which powers an electricity-creating turbine. It’s one of the most efficient and reliable sources of carbon-free energy available in our country.
Hydroelectric energy, or hydropower, is created using the force of running water. As the water moves, it spins in the blades in a turbine, which then powers the generator that produces energy. Hydropower also offers benefits beyond electricity generation, such as flood control and support for irrigation.
Solar energy works by using solar panels to absorb and trap sunlight. An inverter then converts the sunlight into AC electricity, which can be used to power your household appliances.
Wind is another energy source that is both abundant and easy to access. To create wind energy, air blows across the blades of large turbines, causing them to rotate. The energy created by the rotating blades is then harnessed and converted into the electricity we use in our homes.
Geothermal energy is produced using heat from within the Earth’s core. The process begins by drilling holes into the ground, which enables steam and water to rise to the surface. Once it reaches the surface, the water is then used to power the turbines that generate electricity.