What is Clean Energy?

energy innovation action
To be truly environmentally conscious, more of us need to become educated on the jargon that’s being thrown around to describe just how we’re going to mitigate environmental degradation and the effects of climate change. This is especially true in the energy industry with terms such as “Clean Energy” and “Renewable Energy” becoming more prevalent in policy discussions.
But what do we mean when we talk about clean energy? And how does that differ from renewable energy? The terms are often used interchangeably but are they the same thing?
The answer is: No. They are not.
Clean energy can also be renewable energy, and renewable energies can be clean, but these types of energies can also be exclusive of each other.
Clean energy is a broad term that can cover any form of energy or energy production that has relatively no effect or indeed a positive effect on the environment or pollution. Clean energy includes most renewables (some renewables can damage the environment through their production means) but can also encompass nuclear power or other forms of energy that produce no carbon emissions or use technology such as carbon capture to negate emissions.
Renewable energy is energy that renews or replenishes itself over time or comes from a natural source that cannot be used up and won’t run out. Some common examples of renewable energy are solar power, hydro or “wave” power, wind power, geothermal energy and biomass derived energy. The power drawn from these sources is either essentially limitless, coming from the sun and wind, or is harnessed from a source that will replenish itself in our lifetimes such as biomass power.

Hydro power is a common example of an energy source that is renewable but isn’t necessarily ‘clean’ as building a hydro-dam can have a negative impact on the environment around where the dam is located.

So, we can see this doesn’t mean that all “clean” energy is renewable, or indeed that all “renewable” energy is perfectly clean. The most important thing is that we move away from non-clean and non-renewable energies as fast as we can by pushing the market toward clean and renewable sources.

Our current energy infrastructure is still using fossil fuels that overload our air with harmful greenhouse gases. This causes changes in our environment which are both dangerous and costly. Water levels are rising all over the world and hundreds of thousands of acres of land are being burnt by wildfires caused by extreme temperatures, costing property owners and tax payers billions.

But replacing our fossil fuel infrastructure will take time. We have become completely reliant on this energy source in order to sustain our societies and 64% of our electricity use is still being powered by fossil fuels globally.

Are we still going to have to live with fossil fuels for the foreseeable future?
Most likely, but that definitely should not dissuade us.

New technology is consistently improving and driving down the cost of clean and renewable energy, and pressure on the market means that we’re finding ways to use fossil fuels at a much slower rate (for example, for the production of cleaner energy sources). In 2020, renewable energy sources accounted for about 12% of total U.S. energy consumption and about 20% of electricity generation.

While this number is increasing every year, we need to speed it up if we’re going to reach Net Zero Carbon by 2050.
It’s time we all start doing OUR part by supporting brands, policies and politicians who are doing THEIR part to ensure an environmentally secure future.

Pledge your support for problem-solving brands, policies and politicians who are doing their part to enact common sense solutions to protect our environment and mitigate climate change.

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