Catching a Glimpse of Humanity’s Global Impact
What does it take to even out humanity’s impact on the world? In the past few years all sorts of carbon-related terms have become recognizable enough for dinner-table discussions, but what do they all mean?
Today we bring you the story of carbon offsets, outputs and footprints.
It can be hard to wrap our heads around things that aren’t tangible or visible, let alone things that can cost upward of several trillion dollars.
In an effort to make sense of it all, we broke down the numbers with scales everyone can understand. While the price tag of our worldwide carbon footprint may be a little overwhelming, understanding just how big it is could be the best first step to making a dent in it!
Scroll down to see what Bringing the World Back to Zero really takes!
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By now, you know what a huge perk it is having the ability to infuse green energy into your electric service. It’s easier than ever to chip in – even consumers with a passing interest in sustainable energy can contribute toward the green movement by choosing the right package from their retail electric provider. Once you get started with a green energy plan though, you might start wondering what is else out there. Most providers advertise their ties to wind farms or solar arrays, but those aren’t the only ways to generate sustainable energy. Thanks to recent developments in the industry, there are a lot of other green solutions out there.
Wave power, while still in its adolescent stages, is an interesting prospect for renewable energy supporters. The concept is dependent on the speed, size and density of ocean waves. Just like solar panels or wind turbines, wave converters are placed strategically to get the most of the resource they’re drawing from. Some may be close to the shoreline, while others may be far out at sea.
Today, wave power doesn’t have the same following as wind power or solar power. However, that might change in the coming years. Scientists have long acknowledged the huge amount of energy contained in waves, and it’s only a matter of time before we figure out how to extract it faster, more efficiently and in greater quantities.
Much like wave power, hydrogen power doesn’t have the same renown that some of the more well-known green energy sources have. Nonetheless, it’s a really promising contributor to the green energy movement for a few different reasons, the first being that it doesn’t release carbon dioxide. In fact, in its purest form, all it releases is pure water. Unfortunately, it can be difficult and somewhat dangerous to extract energy from hydrogen, but scientists are constantly working to make it a more viable process.
Biomass is considered to be any fuel source that’s drawn from organic matter. A lot of times, this means fuel that’s drawn from plants. The reason biomass is considered sustainable is because of the real time carbon transaction it has with the atmosphere. For example, a plant may draw some amount of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and then emit it back into the environment once it’s been harvested for fuel. Fossil fuels, on the other hand, contain carbon absorptions from millions of years ago that are cast out into the atmosphere in heavy quantities.
Hopefully, there will be a time when everyday consumers start to make use of lesser-known green energy like wave power, hydrogen power and biomass. In the meantime, make sure you’re using green energy in whatever capacity you can.
Like wind energy, solar energy is a renewable resource with significant opportunities for future development in the state of Texas. That’s because Texas experiences solar radiation around the state—although West Texas experiences approximately 75% more direct solar radiation than East Texas. In fact, according to the Texas State Energy Conservation Office, Texas ranks first in the nation in solar resource potential.
Solar energy can be used in two different general ways: active or passive.
Active systems collect and store the sun’s energy, and then convert it into either photovoltaic or thermal energy. These systems are typically used for space or water heating.
Passive solar energy is much simpler, and uses the sun’s energy itself for heating and cooling. These systems generally have no mechanical systems and few if any moving parts. Instead, the building materials and setting itself are used to heat and light the building.
There are many steps to taking full advantage of solar energy, and finding the sunniest spot is only one of them. The amount of radiation collected by solar equipment can be increased by 10 to 15% when installed at an angle, rather than horizontally.
Solar power plant generating electricity for consumers have been implemented in certain areas, but the low energy density of solar radiation requires these plants to be significantly bigger than with other forms of renewable energy. For instance, according to the Texas State Energy Conservation Office, “[a] 200 MW solar plant in West Texas would need about 1,300 acres of land.” This means that such solar plants would be more effective in West Texas, where the direct radiation is higher.
In 2007, Austin was designated a Solar America City by the U.S. Department of Energy, and San Antonio received the same designation in 2008. Both of these cities received funds to help integrate solar energy in their cities.
It’s clear that solar energy in Texas holds potential for residents and electricity providers alike, but there are also issues to be worked out before this technology can be embraced on a wider scale. In general, active solar heating systems can only provide 40%-80% of the heating for a home. In many cases, a back-up heating system will be required, and in that case you can rely on a Texas electricity provider with green energy options.
Keep checking back on this site for more important information on Texas electricity providers and options!
There are many green energy options to explore in Texas, but one of the most popular is energy from wind generation. In fact, many important events associated with wind energy have occurred right here in the Lone Star State, and today Texas produces more wind power than any other state with an installed capacity of 10,085 MW. Iowa comes in second with 3,675 MW.
Texas’s impressive wind power capacity comes from the many wind farms installed across the state, including the Roscoe Wind Farm, which is the largest in the world. Wind farms are groupings of turbines which are connected over a power collection and communication network. These wind farms do more than just help to provide energy to many different customers—they also provide jobs and support the economy in more remote parts of Texas.
West Texas State University (now West Texas A&M University) first began its wind energy research in the 1970s. As a result of this research, the Alternative Energy Institute was founded in 1977. The initial goals were to test and improve current wind turbine designs, while also informing the public about the applications of both wind and solar technology.
More than three decades later, AEI is still helping promote wind energy around the state, and around the world. Students at WTAMU can even take online courses taught by AEI staff.
The geography of Texas itself is one of the reasons that wind energy is becoming more popular in the state. Many areas of Texas experience strong winds, with a Wind Power Class of 5 or higher. These sites are eligible for the construction of wind farms, although other circumstances also come into play.
Three major areas in the state with high wind power potential are the Great Plains, the Gulf Coast, and select ridge tops and passes in the Trans-Pecos area. According to the Texas State Energy Conservation Office at InfinitePower.org, the number of potential sites for Texas wind power “will only expand as development costs continue to drop and wind turbine technology improves.”
What does this mean for Texas energy customers? Primarily, it means that you’ll have even more options when it comes to how and where you get your energy, and will hopefully be able to enjoy green energy at lower prices as the technology advances. Be sure to keep checking this site for more information on the Texas energy news that matters to you.