What is green energy?

What is green energy?

We all need to live ‘greener’. And rightly so, because climate change is already making its mark on the world, and that impact is only going to get worse as we need more and more energy. So to reduce emissions, we need to switch to green energy as much as possible. But what exactly is green energy?

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What is green energy?

What is green energy?

Green energy is energy generated from clean, inexhaustible sources. These are energy sources that have little or no pollution and do not run out. Environmentally friendly and sustainable, in other words. We also call it alternative energy, because traditionally we use a lot of burning natural gas, coal and petroleum to generate power.

Examples of green energy

You can generate power sustainably in several ways. These are the most common:

  • Wind
  • Water
  • Solar energy
  • Biomass

In addition, these forms are also increasingly used today:

  • Nuclear energy
  • Geothermal energy
  • Energy from hydrogen

Tip: Read more about these forms of energy in 7x alternative energy for a cleaner world

Disadvantages of green energy

The advantages of green energy are often well known. But sometimes there are also disadvantages. For instance, wind turbines are a defining feature of the landscape, disrupt views and are dangerous for birds. Moreover, the energy yield of land-based wind turbines is not so consistent. In addition, dams and lakes also affect the environment and burning biofuel may emit more CO2 than necessary.

Solar energy might therefore still seem the most environmentally friendly. You can read here how sustainable solar panels really are.

Which green energy do we use in the Netherlands?

In the Netherlands, by far the most green energy comes from biomass and wind energy. A smaller share of green energy is generated by solar panels and an even smaller share is generated from hydropower or ground heat. Quite remarkable when you consider that the use of biomass is perhaps the most polluting in terms of emissions and there is a lot of opposition to windmills!

Is green power more expensive than grey power?

Many people think that green power is more expensive than grey power from fossil fuels. For example, because the techniques are more complicated and therefore more expensive. In practice, however, green power is hardly more expensive, if at all. However, it is smart to compare suppliers. After all, energy from Dutch power companies may be just slightly more expensive than green power from Norwegian hydropower plants!

How do we know if energy is sustainable?

With both green and grey power, 230V just comes out of the socket. You don’t notice any difference. So how do you know if your energy is green? To guarantee its green origin, Guarantees of Origin (GO) are used in Europe. For every 1,000 kWh of green electricity generated, a producer receives such a GvO. Energy companies can only offer green energy for which they have GvOs. No more than that. On the power label of your energy supplier’s annual accounts, you can find which type of power you received the previous year.

Green energy on site

When you think of energy consumption, you might quickly think of the appliances and heating in homes and business premises. But there is often a need for energy on location too. Think about organising sustainable events or working in the agricultural sector or on building sites. These often take place in places where a power socket may not be readily available or where nature is subject to additional nuisance from noise and emissions.

Fortunately, there is also an environmentally-friendly and sustainable solution for on-site energy needs: mobile solar panels.

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