Renewable Energy: Renewed Sense of Hope
🌎 Take Simple Climate Action: Combat Climate Change Today
Hey there sunshine! Welcome to Save Our Happy Place, a newsletter making it easy for you to help protect the places you love from climate change. We aim to help you take action against climate change at the sweet spot between holding the powers that be accountable and integrating sustainability into your personal life. This week we’re tackling how to support renewable energy from both of these spheres.
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Naturally Replenishing Energy
What is it and what difference does it make?
Renewable Energy (a.k.a. Clean or Green Energy) is power sourced from natural and recurring sources. Examples include: wind, solar, geothermal, hydropower and biomass.
While renewable energy may seem like a newfangled solution to the climate crisis, humans are no stranger to harnessing these perpetually unlimited and CO2 divergent energy sources. The use of wind energy dates back to around 5,000 B.C. with the invention of the sail for propelling boats and 4,000 B.C. with the invention of watermills. While also sprinkled throughout history, coal's most intense usage only began within the past 150 years, commencing with the Industrial Revolution in the 1800’s. We have since made it commonplace to poison our air with the burning of fossil fuels. After becoming so dependent on energy sources like coal, gasoline, and natural gas, we find ourselves now struggling to get back to our roots.
What’s Wrong with Fossil Fuels?
To create context around the benefits of renewable energy, it is good to first paint a picture of the detriments of fossil fuels:
When fossil fuels are burned to produce energy, they release immense amounts of carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas, into the air. Greenhouse gases trap heat in our atmosphere, causing global warming. Global warming causes more frequent and intense storms, drought, rising sea levels, heatwaves, warming oceans, and melting glaciers. This all directly harms both people and animals by destroying habitats and wreaking havoc on livelihoods and communities. Basically, when it comes to fossil fuels it’s all bad news.
The Unlimited Potential of Renewables
Aside from not producing greenhouse gasses, there are a plethora of reasons to switch to renewables including:
Renewables are one of the top ways to divert the worst effects of climate change.
They can supply more than enough renewable energy, accessible with today’s technology, to supply the world’s energy needs (i.e. the sun is likely to burn for another 10 billion years).
They reduce air pollution.
They reduce dependence on foreign fuels.
They generate large job growth opportunities in manufacturing, installation, and more. 11.5 million jobs were added globally to the renewables industry in 2020.
They have become increasingly more affordable with more reliable pricing.
What can we do?
There are two approaches we can take to support renewables. The first is to demand the powers that be to switch over to a 100% renewable-sourced power grids. But until that happens, for now, on an individual level, we can purchase renewable energy for our homes and businesses to increase the overall mix of renewables in the power grid. Below we dive into how you can take action on both fronts in potentially 5 minutes or less.
Power Your Home with Renewable Energy
Get Renewables Directly Through Your Utility Company
What? Half of all utility customers in the U.S. can now purchase renewable energy from their utility provider. Whether you rent or own your home, if you are the contract holder for your electricity bill you can easily switch the source of the power coming into your home to wind and solar power. This is as simple as notifying your utility company that you’d like your energy to be from a renewable energy supplier. Most electric companies have several energy suppliers. Suppliers with renewable sources either generate their power from clean sources or buy renewable energy certificates (more on these below) from other clean energy providers.
How? Get in touch with your utility provider (Est. time a few clicks or few minutes on the phone)
Log into your utility account or call them directly.
Look for options or ask to “switch my electricity to clean energy”.
Choose a supplier that gets its energy from 100% renewable sources.
Or Try Renewable Energy Certificates (REC)
What? If your utility company is unable to source green energy directly, another option is electing suppliers with Renewable Energy Certificates. These essentially allow utility companies and suppliers to buy and then sell certified green energy from other companies even though they didn't generate it themselves.
How? You can opt into these programs by the same process as sourcing the renewables directly from your utility company. Just be sure to double-check that the source has a Renewable Energy Certificate.
Side Note: This is not a license to amp up your energy use.
Whenever and wherever energy is purchased it goes directly into the power grid and can no longer be tracked as only renewable. In the same way, you cannot identify a single cup of water once it has been added to a stream. Buying renewable energy or energy with RECs helps to make the power mix of the entire grid more renewable, which is fantastic. However, it doesn’t ensure that the energy coming into your home is from a purely renewable source. So please still turn your lights off before you leave!
Harness the Sun
Harnassing your own energy through solar panels is readily becoming accessible no matter your relationship to your abode. There are always things to keep in mind when taking on home improvements or talking to your landlord, so be sure to check out our previous edition of Save Our Happy Place covering all things solar.
Take Action: Demand a Transition to Renewable Energy
Tell the Senate to Invest in a 100% Clean Future
What? Demand your senators use their positions of authority to foster long-term investments that invest in a 100% clean future.
Why? Converting to clean energy is one of the strongest solutions to climate change.
How? Click link to send email. (Estimated 1 Minute)
Build Resilient Communities through Localized Renewable Energy
What? Sign this petition with Action For the Climate Emergency to urge Congress to support and promote localized renewable energy solutions.
Why? By creating and storing clean reliable power locally instead of relying on grids powered by fossil fuels during times of natural disasters, we win true energy independence and security.
How? Click link to sign petition. (Estimated 1 Minute)
Some Rays of Sunshine
The Headlines We’re Happy to See
Germany aims to get 100% of energy from renewable sources by 2035. - Read More
Washington legislators mandate 100% electric new car sales by 2030. - Read More
Biden administration approved a major offshore wind farm off the coasts of New York and Rhode Island enough to power roughly 70,000 homes - Read More
The U.S. energy from wind and solar nearly quadrupled over the past decade, accounting for 11 percent of the nation’s electricity in 2020. - Read More
Electric Vehicles sales in the U.S. have surged. - Read More
South Australia broke a record by running for a week on renewable energy. - Read more
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