What Makes an Energy Resource Green or Renewable?

There are a variety of powerful green energy sources including wind, solar, hydro, biomass, and geothermal power. But do you know why these energy sources qualify as renewable energy sources and why others don't? Let's take a look.

Green energy sources are renewable energy sources. That means that these energies occur naturally and have an infinite supply. For example, solar power is generated by the heat that comes from the sun, and the sun provides enough energy in one minute to satisfy the earth's energy needs for an entire year.

Other green energy sources, like wind and hydro power, gain energy from the never-ending movement of water and wind across the planet. Geothermal power comes from the heat created by friction inside the earth.

By contrast, non-renewable energy sources might also occur naturally, but there's only a certain amount of the resource available. These energies are gained from the extraction and burning of coal, oil and petroleum - otherwise called fossil fuels. These energy sources lie inside the earth's surface and they are only available in a finite amount, which leads to concerns about future energy shortages.

To date, most of the world's energy consumption comes from non-renewable energy resources. The United States Energy Information Administration estimates that only 10 percent of the world's energy comes from renewable energy sources. The EIA projects that number to increase to 14 percent by 2035.

Most renewable energy is used to create electricity, and green energy amounts for 19 percent of the world's electricity - 23 percent is predicted by 2035 - according to the EIA.

But green energy sources like bio-diesel have also been used to create fuel for vehicles, including ethanol. Electric and solar-powered cars are also gaining popularity as the world becomes more receptive to green energy alternatives.

When you learn what classifies some energy as green or renewable, you will be able to use more effectively to the benefit of our planet.

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