The green energy industry has exploded in recent years thanks to public pressure and technological innovation. However, while green energy continues to become more affordable and accessible, some skeptics continue to criticize the move from traditional energy sources. Unfortunately, there are myths and exaggerations that have muddied the water in the green energy sector. Let’s take a look at cleaning up these four misconceptions.
Myth #1 – Renewable energy is too expensive!
Once upon a time this may have been true, but it’s absolutely not true today. The cost of green energy has declined immensely over the last few years and has been recognized by multiple sources as the most economical solution to our energy challenges.
For example, the Sierra Club released the findings of a study that shows solar energy to be the most economical source of power. With an initial investment under $4,000 per kw, and just $30 of annual operating costs per household plugged into the grid, it’s clear to see that the way ahead involves converting energy from the sun. These figures factor in the fact that the cost of solar energy plummets over time because the sun works to produce this kind of energy for free. There’s no drilling, prospecting and recovery.
Dirty fossil fuels, the traditional alternatives to green energy, have a ton of hidden costs which are rarely accounted for. When one starts to consider the costs of pollution, and all of the other health impacts from coal and nuclear power, it all starts to become clearer.
There’s a reason that the city of London banned the use of coal in in 1306. It pollutes the air and causes a plethora of health issues for our respiratory systems. Even as our electrical production shifts from dirty coal to cleaner natural gas, we aren’t doing a good job of tackling the things that cause climate change – production of carbon dioxide.
Myth #2 – Clean energy is completely safe.
This next myth is one about clean energy and the safety of workers in the industry. Most people are under the impression that renewable energy is completely clean and safe.
While the output might be clean, let’s not forget that this is still an industry which relies on complex engineering and still carries risks for those working within it. Both personnel and hardware need to be specially trained and configured to withstand the risks. For example, intrinsically safe tablets allow for workers to access information safely and securely. If an explosion or massive impact occurs, their information is still protected from loss. And the device will continue to function.
A 100% danger-free source of energy does not exist. That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t pursue less dangerous forms of clean energy that protect our environment and our health. We can count on thoughtful government regulators to untangle the web of dangers and help us find safer ways to operate the industry, in strong partnership with the private sector.
Myth #3 – Renewable energy can’t power the planet alone.
Few would disagree that renewable energy can be difficult to generate, but to conclude that there is a shortage of available clean energy in the world is a complete fabrication.
Recent studies have suggested that wind and solar comprise almost a third of the energy market – and that speaks volumes from where they were several years ago. Sure, the world isn’t going to solely rely on wind energy, but if the various types of green technologies can be combined and used accordingly, renewable energy can satisfy all of our power needs in the very near future.
We’ll need to rethink all, or a big part of our approach, but many would argue that this is exactly what the world needs.
Myth #4 – Green energy hurts the environment
Some might see this as a strange myth, but there have been suggestions that green energy can hurt the environment.
It has been touted that wind farms produce too much noise and kill flocks of migratory birds, while there are huge carbon footprints when it comes to the initial development of these projects.
All of the above is true – but it is still a much better option than coal and nuclear, which is often forgotten about when this so-called drawbacks are discussed. We shouldn’t make the mistake of discussing clean energy alternatives without the context of the current energy sources that power our homes, offices and transportation systems. We can, and should do better.
Clean, green energy is an exciting space for technologists, environmentalists and anyone that wants to leave a better planet for the next generation. If we can work together to continue developing advances that minimize the actual downsides of green energy, instead of investing energy in paranoid myths that lack scientific evidence, we’ll succeed in turning this tiny ball of gas, land and sea into a world we can be proud to call home.
7 New Technologies That Could Radically Change Our Energy Consumption
Most of our focus on technological development to lessen our environmental impact has been focused on cleaner, more efficient methods of generating electricity. The cost of solar energy production, for example, is slated to fall more than 75 percent between 2010 and 2020.
This is a massive step forward, and it’s good that engineers and researchers are working for even more advancements in this area. But what about technologies that reduce the amount of energy we demand in the first place?
Though it doesn’t get as much attention in the press, we’re making tremendous progress in this area, too.
New Technologies to Watch
These are some of the top emerging technologies that have the power to reduce our energy demands:
- Self-driving cars. Self-driving cars are still in development, but they’re already being hailed as potential ways to eliminate a number of problems on the road, including the epidemic of distracted driving ironically driven by other new technologies. However, even autonomous vehicle proponents often miss the tremendous energy savings that self-driving cars could have on the world. With a fleet of autonomous vehicles at our beck and call, consumers will spend less time driving themselves and more time carpooling, dramatically reducing overall fuel consumption once it’s fully adopted.
- Magnetocaloric tech. The magnetocaloric effect isn’t exactly new—it was actually discovered in 1881—but it’s only recently being studied and applied to commercial appliances. Essentially, this technology relies on changing magnetic fields to produce a cooling effect, which could be used in refrigerators and air conditioners to significantly reduce the amount of electricity required.
- New types of insulation. Insulation is the best asset we have to keep our homes thermoregulated; they keep cold or warm air in (depending on the season) and keep warm or cold air out (again, depending on the season). New insulation technology has the power to improve this efficiency many times over, decreasing our need for heating and cooling entirely. For example, some new automated sealing technologies can seal gaps between 0.5 inches wide and the width of a human hair.
- Better lights. Fluorescent bulbs were a dramatic improvement over incandescent bulbs, and LEDs were a dramatic improvement over fluorescent bulbs—but the improvements may not end there. Scientists are currently researching even better types of light bulbs, and more efficient applications of LEDs while they’re at it.
- Better heat pumps. Heat pumps are built to transfer heat from one location to another, and can be used to efficiently manage temperatures—keeping homes warm while requiring less energy expenditure. For example, some heat pumps are built for residential heating and cooling, while others are being used to make more efficient appliances, like dryers.
- The internet of things. The internet of things and “smart” devices is another development that can significantly reduce our energy demands. For example, “smart” windows may be able to respond dynamically to changing light conditions to heat or cool the house more efficiently, and “smart” refrigerators may be able to respond dynamically to new conditions. There are several reasons for this improvement. First, smart devices automate things, so it’s easier to control your energy consumption. Second, they track your consumption patterns, so it’s easier to conceptualize your impact. Third, they’re often designed with efficiency in mind from the beginning, reducing energy demands, even without the high-tech interfaces.
- Machine learning. Machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI) technologies have the power to improve almost every other item on this list. By studying consumer patterns and recommending new strategies, or automatically controlling certain features, machine learning algorithms have the power to fundamentally change how we use energy in our homes and businesses.
Making the Investment
All technologies need time, money, and consumer acceptance to be developed. Fortunately, a growing number of consumers are becoming enthusiastic about finding new ways to reduce their energy consumption and overall environmental impact. As long as we keep making the investment, our tools to create cleaner energy and demand less energy in the first place should have a massive positive effect on our environment—and even our daily lives.
Responsible Energy Investments Could Solve Retirement Funding Crisis
Retiring baby-boomers are facing a retirement cliff, at the same time as mother nature unleashes her fury with devastating storms tied to the impact of global warming. There could be a unique solution to the challenges associated with climate change – investments in clean energy from retirement funds.
Financial savings play a very important role in everyone’s life and one must start planning for it as soon as possible. It’s shocking how quickly seniors can burn through their nest egg – leaving many wondering, “How long your retirement savings will last?”
Let’s take a closer look at how seniors can take baby steps on the path to retiring with dignity, while helping to clean up our environment.
Tip #1: Focus & Determination
Like in other work, it is very important to focus and be determined. If retirement is around the corner, then make sure to start putting some money away for retirement. No one can ever achieve anything without dedication and focus – whether it’s saving the planet, or saving for retirement.
Tip #2: Minimize Spending
One of the most important things that you need to do is to minimize your expenditures. Reducing consumption is good for the planet too!
Tip #3: Visualize Your Goal
You can achieve more if you have a clearly defined goal in life. This about how your money can be used to better the planet – imagine cleaner air, water and a healthier environment to leave to your grandchildren.
Investing in Clean Energy
One of the hottest and most popular industries for investment today is the energy market – the trading of energy commodities. Clean energy commodities are traded alongside dirty energy supplies. You might be surprised to learn that clean energy is becoming much more competitive.
With green biz becoming more popular, it is quickly becoming a powerful tool for diversified retirement investing.
The Future of Green Biz
As far as the future is concerned, energy businesses are going to continue getting bigger and better. There are many leading energy companies in the market that already have very high stock prices, yet people are continuing to investing in them.
Green initiatives are impacting every industry. Go Green campaigns are a PR staple of every modern brand. For the energy-sector in the US, solar energy investments are considered to be the most accessible form of clean energy investment. Though investing in any energy business comes with some risks, the demand for energy isn’t going anywhere.
In conclusion, if you want to start saving for your retirement, then clean energy stocks and commodity trading are some of the best options for wallets and the planet. Investing in clean energy products, like solar power, is a more long-term investment. It’s quite stable and comes with a significant profit margin. And it’s amazing for the planet!