What Does “100% Renewable” Mean?

Renewable Energy Overview

There are many types of renewable energy sources: Among them are wind, geothermal, hydroelectric, solar, biomass, hydrogen and ocean. Together, renewable energy accounts for about 13% of all US energy production. These sources of energy will never disappear (well, let’s hope not!) and likely will never deplete. In addition, many produce zero carbon dioxide emissions.

Here’s the rundown on each:

  • Wind: Energy is captured by wind turbines and turned into electricity.
  • Geothermal: The earth’s heat can generate electricity and contribute to heating and cooling buildings.
  • Hydroelectric: Dams use water to power turbines that generate electricity.
  • Solar: We’ve all seen solar panels that collect solar energy and turn it into electricity.
  • Biomass: Burning plants, woods, and wood wastes produces electricity in a variety of means.
  • Hydrogen: It can be burned as fuel or converted to electricity and is the most abundant element on earth.
  • Ocean: Tides and waves can be used to generate electricity.

Keep in mind that not all sources of renewable energy are considered green energy.

Because the abundance of these sources varies by state and location, you cannot select the source of your renewable energy, unless you install solar panels. That said, all electricity works the same. There’s no difference between coal, wind, nuclear, or solar in terms of the quality of electricity or its ability to power your refrigerator In fact, most electricity running into your home is a combination of multiple sources.

If it’s all the same, though, why can I choose a 100% renewable energy plan?

100% Renewable Energy Plans

In all renewable energy plan, your supplier purchases enough renewable energy credits to match the percentage of your energy use that comes from renewable sources.

A renewable energy credit is essentially a certificate that renewable energy producers create, that suppliers can buy, to help fund additional green energy projects.

By choosing a 100% renewable energy plan, you can in many cases help create a greener, cleaner future.

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