The first time I heard someone use the phrase “renewable energy,” I had no idea what she was talking about. This was my cousin Donna who had moved out to California, near the Silicon Valley area. Because she was living near to one of the most technologically advanced places in the world, she was way ahead of the game when it came to alternative energies.
Now, many years down the road, I know more about renewable energy, and I’ve since moved out to California where sustainability is a part of our daily conversation. I understand that not everyone lives in the same environment as I do, so today I want to provide you with a quick run-down of some alternative energies that your business could be using.
There’s no shame in not knowing. It’s an opportunity to learn!
Where I live, this is the most widely used alternative energy. As the name implies, solar energy is derived from the sun. People use this energy for heating, cooling, and electricity. It is used across the world! The way that solar energy is gathered is through the use of solar panels, which work during the day to convert the sun’s light into electricity.
Another popular alternative energy, wind energy is a great choice because it uses no water, produces no harmful emissions, and uses little land. Windenergy is gathered through the building of windfarms, which are particularly effective offshore where the wind is stronger and steadier. The largest wind farm in the world is located in China, with other notable wind farms operating out of India, the United States, Romania, and the United Kingdom.
Biomass energy comes from plant materials, which can be used directly to produce heat or can be converted into our next alternative energy type, biofuels. Wood is the most common form of biomass. In developing nations, biomass is one of the most commonly used fuel sources.
4. Ethanol biofuels and other biofuels
Ethanol biofuels are produced from biomass sources. These and other biofuels can be used to replace traditional motor vehicle fuel (petroleum). Maybe you have heard of people converting their cars so that they run off of vegetable oil. What they’re talking about is biofuel!
One of the most popular sustainable energy sources across North America, Asia, Europe, and Australia, geothermal energy is generated by tapping into the thermal energy stored within the Earth itself. This energy can be converted into electricity or can be used for heating. The top geothermal-thermal-energy-producing nation to date is the United States, with the Philippines, Indonesia, Mexico, Italy, and New Zealand close on their tale.
I hope that you learned some new things about alternative energy from this post. One important thing to remember is that not all of these energies are available everywhere on the globe… yet. If you’re ready to make the switch to a renewable energy source, an important first step is educating yourself on which energy sources are available in your area.
Also, some energy sources may be better suited to specific industries. For example, if you run a fleet of semi-trucks, you may want to investigate the biofuels that are available to you. Alternatively, if you run a hotel, you’d be better off looking at alternative energies that are used for electricity, heating, and cooling.
Whatever you decide to do, I commend you for keeping your planet in mind while trying to run your small business. Thank you for doing your part and for keeping our Earth in good shape!