First A Few Facts!
Renewable energy is energy which is available from natural resources such as sunlight via Solar Panels, Wind Turbine, Tidal, and Geothermal Heat which are naturally present in our surrounding environment. In 2008, about 19% of global energy consumption came from renewable resources, with another 13% coming from traditional fossil fuels, such as heating oil, coal, methane & natural gas, and peat moss which is mainly used for heating, and 3.2% from hydroelectricity.
New renewable resources which are small hydro, modern biomass, wind, solar, geothermal, and bio-fuels were responsible for another 2.7% and are growing at rapid rate. The current share of renewable resources in electricity generation is around 18%, with 15% of global electricity coming from hydroelectric and the other 3% from new alternative renewable, or naturally occurring phenomenon. (reference source Wikipedia)
Wind power has been growing at the rate of 30% annually, with a worldwide installed capacity of 158 giga watts (GW) in 2009, and is widely used in Europe, Asia, and the United States. At the end of 2009, cumulative global solar installations surpassed 21 Giga Watts and Pico Volts.
Solar power stations are a popular energy producing option in Germany and Spain
The adoption of wind power has been increasing.
Naturally occurring winds and breezes can be used to run a wind turbines. Modern wind turbines can produce from 600 kW to 5 MW of rated power, although turbines with rated output of 1.5-3 MW generally seem to be the most common for commercial use; the power output of a turbine is a function of the wind speed that wind speed is then multiplied by cube, so as wind speed increases, power output increases dramatically. Areas where winds are stronger and more constant, such as higher altitude sites or at an offshore facility, are generally the more preferred locations for setting up wind farms.
Solar energy Solar energy is the energy converted from the suns energy through the form of solar radiation. Solar powered electrical generation relies on photovoltaic cells and heat engines. A partial list of other solar applications includes space heating and cooling through solar architecture, day-lighting, solar water heating, solar cooking, and high temperature process heat for industrial purposes.
Solar technologies are generally characterized into two categories, either passive solar or active solar depending on their unique functions to capture, convert and distribute solar energy.
Active solar techniques include the use of photovoltaic panels and solar thermal collectors to harness the energy.That is then stored or converted to into a usable source of energy either heat, light, or electricity.
Passive solar techniques include orienting a building to maximize the use of the suns natural light and heat, then the utilization of materials with favorable thermal mass or light dispersing properties, and architectually designing floor plans that naturally circulate air.
All forms of energy are expensive, but as time progresses, renewable energy generally gets cheaper, while fossil fuels generally become more expensive.
The fossil fuel situation is obviously just a matter of supply and demand, as the supply is going down the demand is still increasing. Demand and prices for fossil fuels are continually increasing due to the expansion and growth of new industrial based economies in China and India. Therefore we will never see our costs go down, until we take action.
I am speaking of taking action through the use of being more responsible for our own energy usage. And also through exploring alternative energy resources!
Questions and answers about energy consumption.
Question: How much electricity does an American home use? The 2008 average annual electricity consumption for a U.S. residential utility customer was 11,040 kWh, an average of 920 kilowatt-hours (kWh) per month.
Question: How much overall electricity is used annually in the Unites States for cooling? According to EIA estimates in 2008, approximately 500 plus billion kilowatt-hours (kWh) of electricity were used for cooling and ventilation. This includes commercial and residential end users.
The residential sector used 227 billion kWh, which was an estimated 16% of total residential electricity consumption. About 22% was used by the commercial sector for cooling and ventilation, which was 291 billion kWh. The combined total, was about 17.6% of overall U.S. electricity consumption in 2008.
Obviously you already realize one of your biggest monthly expenses is your home’s energy consumption. Whether it is in the form of heating oil, propane, natural gas, or electricity.
So What Can You Do To Save Money?
The first and most obvious things are general and easily practiced. Change your habits! Make it a household project.
1. Turn off the lights in a room nobody is in or using
2. Keep your thermostat set at 68 Degrees F during the winter months, and 80 degrees F during the summer months.
3. Use and purchase energy efficient appliances i.e. refrigerator, air conditioning, range, microwave, washer and dryer.
4. Turn your computer off when not in use.
5. Buy and use the new energy efficient light bulbs now available.
6. Install dimmer switches on other light fixtures so you can adjust the intensity.+
7. When purchasing a new TV find the one with the lowest energy consumption rating.
8. Use energy efficient fans to circulate air between rooms to maximize heating and cooling effects.
9. Replace old windows and doors.
10. Make sure have the proper amount of insulation in ceilings and walls.
11. If you cannot afford to replace doors or windows, you can make sure they are properly sealed with caulking and or new door weather strips. Also you can seal windows with clear plastic and tape available at your local hardware store.
Explore alternative energy resources.
1. You can go solar if you live in a region with lots of sun.
2. You can also look in to wind turbines, if you have sufficient winds to keep the turbines turning.
3. Obviously you may not be able to go geo-thermal or create your own hydro electric source, unless you have the right amount of land and those resources are readily available. However the cost of the equipment may be prohibitive at best.
If you are able to generate enough electricity you can go offline, and maybe even sell some of your excess back to the power company. This sounds interesting doesn’t it?
Producing your own electricity.
One relatively new alternative is a Magnetic Generator. It doesn’t get much press in the United States, not sure why this is. But it doesn’t even though everyone is always speaking about green energy, or renewable energy as one of the pressing issues facing our country and our economy.