Sources of green energy production have grown steadily over recent years. Where they were once considered alternative and fringe ways to produce power, renewable energy sources such as solar, wind, geothermal, biomass, and hydroelectric are now commanding a larger and larger share of the energy sector. The benefits of such energy sources are varied, but a closer exploration of the pros of renewable energy is perhaps more warranted than ever as the world grapples with the new energy realities of the 21st century. Companies like Stream Energy are working to improve this renewable energy by making it more readily available.
Reduction in Global Warming Emissions
Climate change and global warming is a topic of conversation everywhere these days and with good reason. The vast majority of scientists believe that carbon dioxide released by various human activities is collecting in our atmosphere with devastating effects. These emissions have the effect of trapping heat from the sun and causing an increase in temperatures throughout the planet.
These rising temperatures have been implicated in a number of disturbing trends nationally. Texas, for instance, has seen a substantial rise in days of the years that reach 95 degrees or higher. The state has also experienced prolonged drought and an increase in the number of damaging storms of late. Many in the scientific community theorize that storms such as Hurricane Harvey will become more frequent and destructive as global temperatures rise.
A rise in the use of green energy sources would greatly impact global warming emissions for the better, as most sources of green energy are free of emissions entirely.
Improved Public Health
In addition to their impact on global temperatures, traditional energy sources bring a host of concerns related to public health. Water and air pollution from the burning of coal and natural gas have been linked to a host of health issues such as neurological damage, respiratory problems, heart attacks, and cancer. Green sources offer a safer alternative means of energy production.
Job Creation and Economic Stimulus
Traditionally, fossil fuel technologies are highly mechanized, but the industry emerging around green energy is proving to be much more labor-intensive than its predecessors. The result is that, on average, more jobs are created per unit of generated electricity from sources of green energy than from fossil fuels. In fact, tens of thousands of jobs have already been created to service the rapidly expanding field of green energy. In 2011, jobs related to wind energy production totaled 75,000 in the United States.
Renewable energy sources also keep money circulating in local economies. Whereas most states currently import at least some of the natural gas and coal they burn for energy, an investment in local sources of green energy would help to keep money in the areas where the energy is produced.
The mechanisms of keeping money local would take many forms. For instance, owners of land on which wind farms are built typically receive payments of $3,000 to $6,000 per megawatt of installed capacity. Additionally, a ripple effect of economic stability is predicted for areas around green energy production as businesses involved in the energy supply chain will benefit from the increase in local energy production.
Stabilization of Energy Prices
The costs associated various forms of green energy have steadily dropped over recent years. For instance, the cost of producing wind energy has dropped by more than eighty percent since 1980, and in areas such as Texas that typically enjoy high levels of wind, the price of wind power can already compete directly with fossil fuels.
On the other end of the spectrum, fossil fuel prices are known to move dramatically and can often experience dramatic swings in price. Global demand for commodities such as coal and natural gas can have a direct effect on how much the energy produced from these sources costs in the United States.
How Stream Energy is Prioritizing Green Energy
With the benefits of green energy becoming increasingly apparent, many people are turning to the question of how to encourage the use of renewables in the years to come. While many are hoping policies enacted by lawmakers can help fuel the green energy revolution, others feel it is up to businesses to lead the charge towards a greener, more sustainable energy economy.
As a case study, Texas provides an interesting example of a state transitioning to the widespread use of green energy. Until 2001, power in Texas was regulated as a public utility, meaning citizens received energy from a single local provider. But in 2001 Texas lawmakers deregulated the state’s energy economy, instituting a competitive electric marketplace in the state that focused on cheap energy over other sources.
With the aforementioned economic benefits of green energy and the widespread prevalence of wind resources in Texas, the deregulation had a profound effect on the state’s energy sector. Energy produced from wind grew precipitously in the years after the legislation was passed, from supplying one percent of Texas’s energy in 2000, to over twenty percent by the beginning of 2017.
With the open marketplace put into effect, the mechanism by which this move toward green energy occurred was largely fueled by businesses in Texas’s energy infrastructure. One example of this is the direct selling company, Stream Energy. Since its founding in 2005, Stream Energy’s model has been centered around marketing energy to customers by word-of-mouth. Though its business model would have been impossible before the 2001 legislation, Stream’s practices have proven so effective that it is now consistently recognized as a top direct selling company nationwide.
Stream’s success has been built, in part, on its insistence on providing its customers with the opportunity to prioritize energy from green sources. Stream has offered a variety of plans over the years which prioritized the use of green energy. Its most recent offering of this kind was dubbed their “Smart 30 WaterSaver Green & Clean Plan”. In addition to allowing customers to choose energy from green energy sources such as wind and solar, the plan also provides them with equipment to regulate aspects of their water usage, another important environmental consideration.
Green energy provides a host of positive benefits related to the environment, public health, and the economy. With these benefits of green energy becoming more apparent every day, it seems it is only a matter of time before renewables take over as the primary energy source nationwide. In present day, examples of local economies prioritizing green energy give a preview of how our national energy infrastructure may one day operate. With the continued collaboration of forward-thinking energy companies and like-minded consumers, this future looks bright indeed.
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