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Clean Electricity: How clean is my electricity?
Inspire Clean Energy
9 min read
category: Clean Energy 101
Energy production has been changing rapidly in recent years. The realities of climate change coupled with the fact that traditional energy sources are simply running out, has lead to a major change in the ways power is generated. While coal and crude oil were once king, now the world is looking toward clean electricity sources, particularly wind, solar, and water, to power our future.
But how does this move toward cleaner energy sources impact you, your home, and your business? Let's take a look.
What is clean electricity?
Clean electricity is electricity produced from sources that cause little to no pollution and are renewable. The following are the most common types:
People have been using the energy of the sun for thousands of years. It grows our crops, keeps us warm, and helps preserve our food. But the development of efficient solar panels in the early 1950s brought about a quantum change in how solar energy can be harnessed to produce energy. According to the International Renewable Energy Agency, at the end of 2019, the global capacity had reached 583.5 GW of electricity produced by photovoltaic panels (PVs).
The wind has also been a source of power for millennia, whether for grinding corn, pumping water, or powering ships. Today, wind is the second-largest renewable energy provider, with a capacity of over 620 GW of electricity. The growth of off-shore and on-shore wind farms has been exponential, with most large countries investing heavily in wind energy. The technology is improving all the time and wind turbines are more efficient today than they have ever been.
Hydro energy is the biggest clean energy provider with a capacity of some 1,310.9 GW out of the more than 2,560 GW capacity of all clean energy sources combined. Hydro-electric schemes provoke concerns because of their environmental impact, but there is no doubting their contribution to the provision of clean electricity. There has also been a growth in small, local schemes that provide energy at a domestic level.
Though still in its infancy, using the natural cycle of the tides has enormous potential in adding to our global electricity generating capacity. It is almost certain to play a growing role in the future of clean energy.
Geothermal is another growing source of clean electricity both at a local level through individual heat pumps and the like, to district heating systems, to geothermal power plants. The US leads the world in this form of clean electricity generation, with power plants in seven states producing around 16 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity annually.
What does clean electricity mean for your home?
First off, all the electricity arriving at your house works and acts exactly the same, no matter how it is produced. Clean electricity, in terms of quality, is identical to that produced from fossil fuels; it is the way it is produced that is different.
So, in the short term, changing to a supplier who offers clean electricity will make no difference as far as heating, lighting, and running your appliances are concerned. But the likelihood is that as more and more of our power comes from clean renewables, so the price per unit of electricity will drop.
That is because the costs involved in using clean energy sources are far less than those involved in generating energy from coal, natural gas, and crude oil. You don’t have to go out and find new sources of wind, sunlight, or waves, and there are no extraction costs either. Wind turbines and solar panels, in particular, are getting cheaper to manufacture and more efficient, and their running and maintenance costs are low. Meanwhile, sources of fossil fuels are dwindling, making them harder to find and more difficult to extract, so their costs are rising.
Then there are the environmental costs involved in fossil fuel electricity production. The mass move to clean electricity will mean a better, cleaner, and healthier environment for everyone on the planet and offer some chance at minimizing climate change.
It is not just about what clean energy means to your home, but also what your change to clean electricity means for the future of the planet.
What does clean electricity mean for your business?
What is true for the homeowner is doubly true for the business owner. Power makes up a significant part of the running costs of most businesses, so the cheaper power that clean energy sources promise will mean an increase in profitability across the board.
Since industry is the greatest end-use sector of electricity, it can make a huge impact on climate change by switching to clean electricity. Where they lead, others will follow.
It’s also worth noting that new green initiatives are coming into play, and your city may even have clean air targets to meet now or in the near future. Switching to a clean energy supply can greatly improve your ability to meet those targets and show your customers you care.
What is the cleanest way to generate electricity?
For your home
Generally, you’re not going to be able to install clean electricity generators on your property, unless you live in a rural area. For most, installing a wind turbine is out of the question, and solar panels can be expensive to install, too. At home, the easiest way to access clean electricity is by buying it from a clean energy supplier.
When you pay for the electricity you receive through a standard energy plan, you’re receiving energy that has – in all likelihood – been generated in a traditional powerplant with fossil fuels. That means your carbon footprint is perhaps bigger than you thought, because you’re contributing (knowingly or not) to the pollution of the earth through the use of fossil fuels.
To avoid this, the most economically friendly thing to do is simply switch to a renewable energy plan, like those that are offered by Inspire. Our Inspire members run the gambit – some live in one-bedroom apartments in the city, others in 5-bedroom homes in a rural area. The thing they all have in common is the desire to do good for the planet. In only a few minutes, you can join them and receive clean energy for your home at a fixed monthly price. That means you can use as much energy as you like, and we’ll purchase clean energy on your behalf. Learn more about the benefits of renewable energy here.
For your business
The cleanest way to source energy for your business is the same as it is for your home – you can either invest in expensive solar panels or simply switch to a clean electricity plan.
Many companies are choosing to cover their warehouses and manufacturing facilities with solar panels, but that’s not an option for every business. If you rent or if your business is in an area that receives little sunlight, it’s not going to be possible or you won’t see the benefits you’re looking for.
Fortunately, you can enjoy all the benefits by switching to renewable energy with Inspire. You can reduce your carbon footprint and, as an added bonus, boast to your customers that your facility is supporting clean energy. To find out more, click here.
How to get clean electricity for your home
As we mentioned above, there are two ways:
- Spend $10,000 - $30,000 installing solar panels or a wind turbine on your property (provided you have the right conditions and permissions), or;
- Switch to a clean electricity plan.
Fortunately, the latter is incredibly easy, cost-effective, and takes only a few minutes! Visit Inspire and find out more how to switch to a renewable energy company for clean electricity in your home.
How to get clean electricity for your business
Much like getting clean energy for your home, if you're looking for clean energy for your business you can spend $10,000+ dollars to install solar panels or wind turbines, provided you have the right permissions and environment, or do the simple thing and switch to a clean electricity plan with us! Click here to find out more.
The benefits of clean electricity
Clean electricity generation has environmental and economic benefits for everyone:
- Clean energy does not produce the harmful emissions produced when fossil fuels are used as an energy source, making our environment a safer and healthier place for every living thing on the planet.
- Most clean energy sources don’t use up water to generate electricity, and clean water is a fragile resource globally.
- Clean energy is generated from renewables that will not run out.
- There is little-to-no land damage involved with clean energy sources.
- Employment in the renewable energy sector is growing steadily.
- The development of clean energy brings investment into rural areas.
- The US can become energy self-sufficient, freeing it from the uncertainties of the international energy market.
For your home
Choosing clean energy gives you a stake in a better, cleaner, healthier world, helping protect the future for your children and the generations to come. It can also help bolster your local economy and provide more jobs in rural areas, too.
For your business
Switching to clean electricity will improve profitability and send a message to your employees and the local neighborhood that you care about them and the environment. It can also help you meet green or clean air targets.
How clean is my electricity?
If you’re not currently on a clean electricity plan, and don’t use wind power or solar power, the answer is: not very clean at all. In all likelihood, the electricity powering your home was generated primarily by fossil fuel plants, which omit toxic gasses. These cause pollution, health problems, and global warming.
If you are on a clean electricity plan (or sign up for one today!) then the answer is likely 100% clean! All our Inspire members get the benefits of our clean energy supply, which comes from US wind farms and other clean energy sources. Our energy is clean, renewable, and economical.
If you care about the future of the planet, then choosing clean electricity is a no-brainer. Inspire makes this switch so simple. Taking just a few moments of your time to subscribe will help make a real difference to the planet and help the clean energy movement gain further traction. Don’t sit by and do nothing. You may not think one person, family, or business makes much difference, but that is where all great movements start. If you want to find out about how to switch to renewable energy, come learn more with Inspire today.
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Our clean energy plans are the easiest way to reduce your home's carbon footprint.Switch to clean energy