“Green Energy” is a term describing what is thought to be environmentally friendly sources of power and energy. Typically, this refers to renewable, sustainable and non-polluting energy sources.
Green energy includes natural energetic processes, which can be harnessed with little pollution. Anaerobic digestion, geothermal power, wind power, small-scale hydropower, solar power, biomass power, biofuels, tidal power and wave power fall under such a category. Some versions may also include power derived from the incineration of waste.
More controversial is nuclear energy’s claim to be green. It is possibly sustainable, arguably renewable and produces virtually no atmospheric pollution during the energy production stage. However nuclear waste is a pollutant if released into the biosphere, and there are carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases generated by the large amount of energy required by transport, mining and pre- and post-production. Hence, nuclear power is rarely included in official green energy schemes. Proponents of Nuclear Power tend to argue that the Nuclear waste is not released into the biosphere during normal operation and that the carbon dioxide emissions per kilowatt hour of generated electricity is comparable to those of other green energy sources, such as wind power.
Likewise, medium or large-scale hydroelectric power or sources of air pollution such as burning biomatter or petroleum, are often excluded from the label “Green” energy.
Current electricity retailing arrangements make it possible for consumers to buy green electricity, either by purchasing their electricity from a generating company that uses only renewable technologies, or by buying from a general supplier who undertakes to buy at least as much power from renewable sources as their “green” customers purchase. Often green electricity commands a price premium compared with standard supplies. Obviously this option is only available where common carrier arrangements have been put in place to allow competitive supply of power.
Existing and advanced technologies are increasing the downward trend in renewable, sustainable, “Green” energy pricing. With new developments in Wind and Solar power technologies, hydrogen electrolyzer storage and other rapidly advancing technologies, the price of environmentally friendly, “Green” energy is becoming more and more price competitive.
Renewable energy certificates (Green certificates, or green tags) are currently the most convenient way for consumers and businesses to support “green power”. Over 35 million homes in Europe, and 1 million in the United States, are purchasing such certificates.