Renewable Power Users and Sources

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Renewable energy is energy which comes from natural resources such as sunlight, wind, rain, tides, and geothermal heat, which are renewable as opposed to fossil fuels for example which once gone are gone. In 2008, about 19% of global final energy consumption came from renewables, with 13% coming from traditional biomass, which is mainly used for heating, and 3.2% from hydroelectricity. The EPA has just named the 50 green power partners (individual purchasing sources or companies) using the most renewable electricity. The Green Power Partnership’s top purchasers use more than 12 billion kilowatt-hours (kWh) of green power annually, equivalent to the annual carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from the electricity use of more than 1 million average American homes. Green Power users pollute less and do not use up non-renewable sources.

During the five years from the end of 2004 through 2009, worldwide renewable energy capacity grew at rates of 10—60 percent annually for many technologies. For wind power and many other renewable technologies, growth accelerated in 2009 relative to the previous four years. More wind power capacity was added during 2009 than any other renewable technology.

To use renewable power sources require not only the will but the availability of such sources. For example if one burns fuel oil , one can choose to use biofuels instead of petroleum based fuel oil. One could also install solar power cells too but one needs an adequate supply of sun which is better done in sunny Arizona than in gloomier portions of New England.

The top 10 on the EPA list are Intel Corporation, Kohl’s Department Stores, Whole Foods Market, City of Houston, Dell Inc., Johnson & Johnson, Cisco Systems, Inc., commonwealth of Pennsylvania, U.S. Air Force, and the city of Dallas.

Intel Corporation remains the partnership’s largest single purchaser of green power, using more than 1.4 billion kWh, equivalent to the CO2 emissions from the electricity use of nearly 125,000 average American homes. Washington, D.C. (No. 14), TD Bank, N.A. (No. 15), the state of Illinois (No. 23), Pearson, Inc. (No. 27), Chicago Public Schools (No. 35), and Harris N.A. (No. 42), are all making first-time appearances on the national list. BD (No. 19), a global medical technology company, and the Port of Portland (No. 49), both rose in the rankings by nearly doubling their green power purchases.

Looking at the individual users, there is a wide range of how much of the site power needs are renewable. For example, Intel is number 1 in total renewable power use, but only 51% of total usage is renewable. A Kohl Departmental store in Wisconsin is 100% renewable. A Dell location is 129% renewable which means they can export some of their power to the local electric utility. Johnson and Johnson in New Brunswick, NJ uses 39% renewable.

Consumer users can sometimes install solar power and go renewable but, more often, it is more the luck of the draw. Users in the western USA have more hydroelectric power to choose from those in the eastern USA.

Article by Andy Soos, appearing courtesy Environmental News Network.

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