Renewable Energy 101Renewable energy is energy that is generated from natural resources that are continually replenished. Sources of renewable energy include the sun, wind, moving water, and heat. Renewable energy can replace more traditional sources of energy, such as fossil fuels or nuclear, in four main areas: electricity generation, water/space heating, motor fuels, and off-grid applications.
Why Is Renewable Energy Important?Renewable energy sources can be replenished in a relatively short period of time, are not tied to volatile foreign energy market conditions, and have less environmental impact than traditional energy sources. They can reduce the need for transporting electricity through cables, poles, towers, etc. However, some of these sources cannot always stay “on,” which can reduce the availability to our customers. A Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) is a regulation that requires the increased use of renewable energy. The area we serve has regulated standards that require these goals are met every year. The standards carefully balance the mix of renewable energy sources and traditionally generated electricity to ensure we can provide a reliable supply to our customers. What Does this Mean for You?This means you and future generations can enjoy plentiful energy resources, reliable energy and a cleaner environment. Focusing on renewable energy sources means that each individual has a greater opportunity to make a difference in our carbon footprint, which can translate to a more secure energy future and environmentally friendly future for all. Energy from the SunThe sun has produced energy (solar radiation) for billions of years. This energy can be converted into other forms of energy, such as electricity. Photovoltaic (PV) or “solar cells” change sunlight directly into electricity. PV cells are grouped into panels and panels are grouped into arrays. PV cells can be used in a wide range of applications from a few cells powering a calculator, to a bunch of panels that power single homes, to many acres of panels that become a large solar power plant. The benefits of solar energy are:
Does not produce air pollutants or carbon dioxide
Sunlight is abundant
Generate electricity directly from sunlight and have no moving parts
Greatest energy source when air conditioning demand is highest