Reducing Pollution and Cost with Renewable Energy

Reducing Pollution and Cost with Renewable Energy

August 10, 2023

As discussions of climate change become more heated, the world has begun looking towards clean, renewable energy sources to reduce pollution as well as costs. Wind, hydropower, and solar energy have all been taking off as people begin looking for cheaper ways to reduce carbon emissions from fossil fuels.

Why are we focusing on energy? Because energy pollution causes the highest rate of air pollution throughout the world. According to American Geosciences, “The three major fossil fuels—petroleum, natural gas, and coal—combined accounted for about 77.6% of the U.S. primary energy production.”

This is why if we want to slow the rate of global warming, we need to step up and start making clean energy the norm. In doing so, we can reduce our dependence on fossil fuels, which are in limited supply and thus more expensive. As the United States transitions to clean electricity and net-zero emission by 2050, it’s important to understand the environmental and economic benefits of different types of clean energy.

Wind Energy

There’s a sort of poetry to using the power of the wind to reduce air pollution. Perhaps that is why wind power has been on the rise lately. That, and it’s an abundant and inexhaustible resource. Wind energy is harnessed by using wind turbines that spin a generator to create electricity. This electricity doesn’t require any fuels to be burned to be created, so they create no air pollution as they work. In 2022, wind energy avoided 334 million metric tons of CO2 emissions.

Wind energy is sweeping the nation, and is actually the largest source of renewable power in the United States. In fact, wind turbine service technicians are the second fastest growing US job of the decade. So clearly, wind farms are here to stay, reducing pollution and boosting the economy. In fact, Massachusetts is currently looking to double the amount of offshore wind in its pipeline with new projects. 

Wind energy

Hydropower

Also known as hydroelectric power, hydropower is harnessing the natural flow of moving water to generate electricity. Water flows from a higher elevation to a lower elevation, and hydropower facilities use turbines and generators to convert the motion into electricity. If you’ve ever seen a water wheel, you’ve seen a basic form of hydropower. Like wind, it’s a clean energy source that can reduce pollution. It also has added benefits beyond just generating electricity, such as preventing flood control, irrigation support, and clean drinking water.

Hydropower isn’t a new industry. In the U.S., it already employs 66,500 people and the number of jobs is growing. Best of all, it creates jobs in more rural locations, which will give local economies away from the cities a massive boost.

Hydropower is doing well in Massachusetts in particular. With 72 total powered dams producing 19,477,000MWh of electricity, hydropower provides 17% of the state’s renewable energy and 6% of the state’s total energy.

Hydropower dam

Solar Energy

Solar power may be the king of clean, renewable energy. According to Energy.gov, “As a renewable source of power, solar energy has an important role in reducing greenhouse gas emissions and mitigating climate change, which is critical to protecting humans, wildlife, and ecosystems.”

Like wind and water, solar energy surrounds us and is waiting to be harnessed. The amount of sunlight that hits the U.S. in a single day is more than 2,500 times the entire country’s daily energy usage. By using photovoltaics and solar panels, we can convert this energy into electricity. Solar panels create zero emissions once they’ve been produced, so they’re already better for the environment than fossil fuels. This makes it the key factor to slowing down climate change.

Economically, solar energy is on the rise, too. In 2021, the solar industry provided 4.3 million jobs worldwide; more than a third of the current global workforce in renewable energy. Solar farms are proving themselves to be profitable, which has encouraged their growth. Just one acre of a solar farm generates over $1,000 per month based on the energy sold to the grid.

solar installation in Eastham, MA

But where it really shines is in the residential sector. When you install solar panels, solar energy can power your whole house and drastically help reduce your carbon footprint. This might sound like a drop in the bucket when it comes to climate change, but when you multiply that by the millions of people who have also gotten solar panels, it makes a big difference. And as solar panels have become more affordable and states begin offering solar incentives and tax benefits, they become extremely worthwhile for the average homeowner as well as the country’s economy.

If you live in Massachusetts, you should absolutely go solar, as it is currently the 11th highest producer of solar power in the United States. 20.25% of the state’s electricity comes from solar, which is enough to power 739,908 homes. The tax benefits are also some of the best in the nation, with both the SMART Program on top of the Federal Solar Investment Tax Credit acting as fantastic incentives.

So as the country begins transitioning towards clean energy, you can breathe a little easier, but remember to do your part. Call today to find out if your home is right for solar panels.