Energy refers to the ability to do work and is available in different forms like heat, light, electrical, chemical, mechanical, and gravitational energy. Technological advances have improved how humans can convert the earth’s resources into exploitable energy. The energy generated finds numerous roles in daily living like cooking, lighting, and heating living spaces. Commercially, companies utilize different forms of energy to manufacture products and provide services to clients.
The primary sources of energy are broadly grouped into renewable and non-renewable energy. The U.S. mainly depends on petroleum, natural gas, coal, hydrocarbon gas liquids, and nuclear energy, which are depletable or non-renewable energy sources. Rising demand for energy and growing environmental consciences has increased the demand for sustainable and clean energy sources.
Power Wizard is an energy empowerment company that can help you identify green energy options suitable for your home. Let’s look at further insights into Texas’s renewable energy options and technologies.
The Rise of Green Energy Options
Until the mid-1800s, the U.S. citizens relied upon energy from burning wood for daily living. By the end of the 18th Century, people started exploiting other fossil fuels as they were easy to harness and gave high energy output. Growing concern over the sustainability of the non-renewable resources inspired energy production using water-driven turbines at hydroelectric power plants in the 1990s.
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Since then, the U.S. has seen a steady rise in renewable energy options like biofuels, solar, geothermal, and wind energy. A record high in the U.S.’s total green energy production and consumption was seen in 2020. These sustainable sources currently support about 12% of the nation’s total power consumption by providing around 12.16 quadrillion British thermal units (Btus) of energy. British thermal units allow you to compare different forms of energy that have different units and are ordinarily not directly comparable.
Renewable energy plays a critical role in lowering carbon emissions and can help improve the country’s energy security. The Energy Information Administration (EIA) projects the nation’s green energy use to continue growing through 2050. The projections assume that the legislation affecting the energy industry remains constant through the entire timeframe.
The Decline of Fossil Fuel Dependency
The year 2020 saw the U.S.’s total consumption of fossil fuels reach a low of 72.9 quadrillion Btus. This figure is 9% lower than the non-renewable energy consumption of 2019.
Petroleum products like gasoline, diesel, and hydrocarbon gas liquids made up 44% of the country’s fuel consumption. The transport sector consumed about 68% of this fuel. Economic response to the COVID-19 pandemic saw a 13% drop in fuel consumption by the transport sector resulting in an overall decline in fossil fuel dependency.
Natural gas supported 43% of the nation’s fossil fuel use. The electric power sector used about 38% of this power to generate heat and electricity. The weather was warmer in 2020, leading to a 2% decrease in the power demanded for living space heating.
Clean Energy Sources and Technologies for Your Home
Solar, wind, and geothermal energy are green energy options that can help lower your home’s energy consumption and reduce power costs. Read on for a look into these clean sources and technologies.
Solar Energy and Solar Panels
The sun has been a source of immense energy for billions of years. Humans have evolved from using this energy solely for warmth and drying grains or clothes to collecting and converting solar energy into electricity. Technological advances have given rise to solar cells or photovoltaic (PV) devices that directly convert sunlight into electrical energy.
A semiconductor material absorbs the particles of solar energy or photons when they strike the PV cells. The particles dislodge electrons from the material’s atoms, resulting in the flow of electricity into an external load like a battery. Modern PV cells are more efficient at converting solar energy into electric power than older models. This improvement has seen an increase in the U.S.’s total solar energy use from 6 million kWh in 2004 to 112 billion kWh in 2021.
Texas generates about 7.907 billion kWh of solar energy from utility-scale sources and 1.6120 billion kWh from small-scale PV sources. Several arrangements of these small solar cells in rooftop solar panels can create enough electricity to power your house. Texas has expansive tracts of land that can accommodate solar power plants to produce enough electricity to power thousands of homes.
Electricity from Wind Energy
Wind refers to moving air currents that arise from uneven heating of the earth’s surface. The sun heats land and water surfaces at different rates setting up a daily wind cycle that makes the wind blow differently at day and night. Wind turbines have blades that harness the wind’s kinetic energy into a renewable power source. The blades connect to a drive shaft that spins to produce electricity.
The wind turbine’s blade length determines the amount of electricity you can produce. Small wind turbines can produce about 10kWh, enough to power a single home. Large turbines get into wind farms that can create up to 10 megawatts of electricity.
Wind electricity generation in the U.S. has seen a significant increase over the last 3 decades. Government incentives for green energy options and improving wind technology have lowered the cost of harnessing wind power. Wind energy contributed to 380 billion kWh of power in 2021, which is an immense improvement from the 6 billion kWh created in 2000.
Setting up and operating a wind power plant requires careful planning as you need to consider how often and fast the wind blows at the site. Small-scale wind farms can be set in areas experiencing 9 mph of wind speed, while utility-scale turbines need 13 mph. The states of Texas, Iowa, Kansas, Oklahoma, and Illinois combine to create 56% of the nation’s wind energy.
Geothermal power is a renewable energy source arising from deep inside the earth. The earth is made of a solid inner core, outer molten core, mantle of magma, and crust of solid rock. The inner core is almost as hot as the sun’s surface, with a temperature of 10,800 degrees Fahrenheit.
Hot molten core and mantle magma sometimes get to the earth’s surface at the edges of tectonic plates, breaking up the crust. The lava gives rise to volcanoes that are renowned sources of heat energy. Other geothermal energy reservoirs include hot springs and geysers.
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You can utilize the geothermal heat directly to warm your home and several buildings through different heating systems. This geothermal heating system involves piping hot water from reservoirs into a building for heat. Geothermal reservoirs can also create heat energy by heating and producing steam at 300 to 700 degrees Fahrenheit.
The U.S. is one of the leading nations in geothermal electricity production, with 16 billion kWh generated in 2021. This amount accounts for 0.4% of the nation’s utility-scale energy production. Geothermal heat pumps are an energy-efficient, affordable, and environmentally clean way to change your home’s temperature.
How to Find Electric Providers That Use Clean Energy Sources
Texas has many natural sources that improve your chances of finding electric providers offering various types of green energy plans. Renewable electric companies mainly harness solar and wind energy to generate cheap and sustainable electric power. You can use the Power Wizard’s DIY shopping tool to compare different electric plans and find the perfect one for you.
Be a Part of a Clean Energy Revolution
You can play your part in the clean energy revolution by buying 100% renewable energy. Your purchase helps increase the use of green power options in Texas and reduce reliance on non-renewable energy sources. Power Wizard can aid you in your journey to an eco-friendly and more energy-efficient future with our numerous services and products. Sign up today to make energy decisions for your home or business!