Consumers drive the “Go Green” movement in the utility spectrum
The demand for renewable resources increases as consumers become more green conscious. Their demand is creating pressure on utility companies to join the green movement by replacing conventional means of energy with clean energy resources such as solar and wind.
The government is helping to perpetuate the green movement by offering various incentives to consumers. For example, the federal government provides solar rebates for two different technologies: solar electricity and solar water heaters. These systems work differently and play different roles in the operation of a house. Either one might be appealing to someone trying to reduce their use of fossil fuels and to create savings for themselves in the long run.
Understanding the various types of renewable resources can be challenging; however, the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) offers a helpful list of subcategories. Categories include: wind and solar energy, biomass (generated from plant materials), biogas (from animal waste), geothermal, hydropower, and offshore wind, wave, and tidal energy.
Use of Renewables to Grow
Black & Veatch randomly surveyed various utilities for its “2013 Strategic Directions in the U.S. Electric Industry” report. In the report, is predicted that there will be a 150 percent increase in the use of renewable energy sources by 2038. On the downside, 3.4 percent of the respondents to Black & Veatch’s survey said technical limitations would prevent utilities from meeting their goals under state Renewable Portfolio Standard requirements. Another 14.5 percent think the renewables goal will be technically achievable but at a cost that would be too great for consumers.
Reducing Harmful Emissions
Aside from switching to renewable resource, it is also an important focus of the green movement to reduce existing emissions. Utilities are gradually substituting cleaner fuels for higher-carbon fuels such as coal and oil.
In a 2013 report, the Energy Information Administration predicts the 2040 fuel mix of electric utilities breaking down as follows: Coal, 35 percent in 2040, down from 53 percent in 1993; Oil and Other Liquids, 1 percent, down from 4 percent in 1993; Nuclear, 17 percent, down from 19 percent; Renewables, 16 percent, up from 11 percent; and Natural Gas, 30 percent, up from 13 percent.
It’s worth noting that nuclear generation of electricity is comparatively clean but raises other environmental concerns relative to the disposal of nuclear waste and the possible consequences of a nuclear plant’s catastrophic failure.
Change Coming in Residential Areas
With consumers demanding more green energy options, both utilities and retail electricity providers are offering renewable plans. States such as Connecticut, Illinois, Pennsylvania, New York, and Texas offer both wind and solar plans for residents and businesses. As the movement progresses, more states should follow suit helping to create more clean and efficient options for customers. If interested in seeing green energy option in our area, visit www.renewableelectricity.com