Different Types of Green Energy

With the ever-increasing cost of energy, many people are wondering if there are any alternatives to the current power choices. There are actually several different types of green power with solar energy and wind energy being the two most common ones.

Solar Energy

This type of power is derived from sunlight. Solar energy is captured with the use of solar panels placed on the roof of a building. Once sunlight is captured, a chemical reaction occurs that causes them to be converted to electricity. After sunlight is converted to electric current, the solar energy that has been created can power a home, be stored by the use of batteries, or fed into the local power grid. Solar energy is most efficient to use in areas that receive a great deal of sunlight, which is why it is popular in the western United States.

Wind Energy

Wind energy is captured through the use of wind turbines. These structuresare 100 to 120 feet high and located on hillsides or in open fields, as tall buildings and trees sometimes “break” the force of the wind. When the blind blows, the blades on the wind turbine are forced to turn, which then causes electricity to be manufactured and sent to a generator. A single wind generator can be used to provide power for a residence, while wind farms often supply electricity to local power companies by using multiple generators.  Like solar energy, wind energy is often used to supplement regular power sources rather than being relied on entirely.

Hydropower

This type of green energy involves the use of water. Flowing water from rivers and streams are forced into a special area known as a penstock. Once the water flows through this penstock, it is then converted into electricity and then fed to a generator.  Hydropower is useful only in areas that have large bodies of flowing water. It has historically been used to power water wheels used for grinding flour or for powering sawmills. Today, scientists are trying to harness the power of ocean tides to produce electricity, but this research is currently in the very early stages of development. Hydropower along with solar energy continues to be popular in many western states.

Geothermal Energy

Like solar energy, geothermal energy is primarily used in individual homes. This type of green energy involves the use of hot water to provide heat.  The water in some underground locations is naturally very warm, so when it passes through heating ducts it automatically produces steam. This steam in turn warms the home, without producing any emissions as a result. Geothermal energy provides excellent results, but can only be used by people who live near an area containing natural hot springs. It is generally an inexpensive and reliable form of alternative energy.

As energy becomes more costly to produce, more and more people may become dependent on green energy. New developments are becoming available especially in the areas of wind and solar energy. This means using alternative energy is bound to become more affordable and efficient in the near future.