Talk about climate change is everywhere around us. People are discussing ways to mitigate the effects of climate change. One helpful step is to switch from conventional energy to green energy.
Switching to green energy is promoted as something that all households can do to reduce their carbon footprint. What’s more, the promise goes, it does not have to be expensive, nor does it require any investment from households.
But how true is that promise? Just how easy is it to switch to green energy?
Turns out, it’s much easier than you’d think!
History of fossil fuels
It may come as a surprise to many, but until recently, humanity has produced energy without the use of fossil fuels, simply because they did not have access to them.
Think of traditional windmills grinding flour or water mills turning wheels to put machinery in motion. All these were sustainable energy production methods that did not emit carbon. They were, however, small scale. Powering entire cities or industries was not even a distant dream at the time.
With the discovery of fossil fuels at the end of the 19th century, energy production became cheaper and faster. It also became more polluting. Throughout the 20th century, energy companies used to produce electricity by using mainly oil, natural gas, or coal.
These sources of energy produce carbon emissions when they are burned. Carbon emissions (CO2) are the leading cause of climate change, and the challenge has been to find ways to produce electricity through cleaner means–without emitting carbon.
What is green energy?
With the progress of science, we can now produce what is called green energy through renewable sources without any carbon emissions.
Green energy can be produced from wind turbines, solar panels, hydropower, biomass, or geothermal power. The added advantage of green energy is that there is no risk of running out of sun or wind. Unlike oil and gas, which are limited resources, sunshine, wind power, and geothermal power are endless and hence sustainable. Consuming sunshine today does not mean there will be less sunshine for future generations.
How cheap is green energy?
Green energy production has made such technological leaps that it is now often as cheap as conventional energy production. Indeed, in some cases, it can be even cheaper.
As a result, green energy is competitive with mainstream energy production. There is, therefore, no reason not to switch to green energy when it can be so beneficial to our world and also your pocket.
Also, as more consumers switch to green energy, entrepreneurs will invest more in such ventures, meaning more green energy will be available, and fewer conventional power plants will be used.
A virtuous circle of green energy production is being created.
How is electricity produced and delivered to my house?
Until now, your utility company supplying electricity and gas to you was both producer and distributor. While they produce electricity, they are also in charge of transporting electricity and gas to your house through their wires and cables. They are also responsible for any leaks or problems in the distribution system.
Recent technological innovations mean that the production of electricity can now be differentiated from the distribution.
Therefore, energy suppliers supply electricity, which is then transported through the wires, cables, and pipes of your utility company.
So now you can choose to keep your utility company as a supplier of electricity or to switch to a green energy supplier.
How do you get green energy?
Green energy suppliers use renewable energy such as wind, sun or water to produce electricity without polluting the environment. Their goal is to expand as much as possible so that more and more homes and businesses switch from fossil fuel electricity generation to green energy.
If you choose a green energy supplier instead of a conventional one, then your energy supplier will replace the amount of energy you consumed back into the grid. Only, this energy will be produced using clean energy production methods. This means that the grid is being replenished with green energy, rather than energy produced by fossil fuels. The more people who do this, the more the system will be filled with green energy.
Frequently asked questions
The speed with which the energy market changes means that a lot of people have questions. Misunderstandings can easily arise as a result. Here are some common questions people ask about green energy.
How can I switch to green energy?
It can be very easy to switch to a green energy supplier. With your electricity bill in hand, you call up a green energy supplier and apply for service. Once approved, the energy used to power your house or business will be sourced from renewable green sources.
Will I need to change my installation?
You will not be required to change your home installations or incur any additional expenses in your home. Your home will be running as it is now. Your kitchen appliances, computers, TV sets, and everything else in your home will work exactly like before. There is no need to make any particular installation.
The only difference is where your energy is coming from.
Your electricity bill will display where your energy is coming from, and it will show that it is coming from green energy sources.
Does green energy mean power cuts?
Your power will still come from the same power grid as before. So, you will not run out of energy, nor will your energy supply be intermittent, causing power cuts. The only change will be that the kW you have consumed will be replaced in the system with clean energy.
You will be saving the environment
By switching to a green energy source, you are making sure you protect the environment by lowering harmful carbon emissions. You diminish your carbon footprint without changing your habits or investing in anything expensive yourself. You are also giving a good example of how energy production can be compatible with the protection of the environment, while still remaining competitive in terms of prices.
Can I switch energy supplier at any time?
Yes. If, for whatever reason, you do not want to keep your green energy supplier, you can always change your mind and return to a conventional energy supplier.