CLEAN ENERGY: Where we’re at, where we’re headed and how to get on board

Caution: This article contains fun toys that may distract from other boring work. You’ve been warned.

It was released today that, for the first time ever, more renewable energy capacity was added in Europe and the U.S. than conventional energy capacity; up 16% over 2007. Seven (7) more countries added renewable energy targets in 2008, bringing the total number of countries focused on this critical effort to 73. (ENS)

What does this mean for us? 

  1. More green jobs will be available in the coming years for the 8.6% of adults currently unemployed in America, as of April (BLS)…which means some of us can go back to buying our favorite eco-chic apparel.
  2. Conventional electrical companies will continue to be pressured to modernize the electrical grid and integrate renewable energy into the system more efficiently; giving households more direct access to green power.
  3. Costs of choosing alternative energy to the homeowner will drop as demand rises…who doesn’t like saving money?
  4. Carbon emissions will be reduced…woo-hoo!

  So, to the average girl, all this energy stuff is a bit technical. If you’re like me, you can get confused very easily. Still, it’s important to get educated since we are the force of consumer demand. Without citizens driving demand for this movement, no progress can be made. So, I’ve located some FUN tools you can play with to help you better understand the mechanics and effects of renewable energy, smart grids and smart meters at GE. There is also a page that lists blogs and Facebook pages dedicated to the topic, if you want to dig deeper.

Get started at the
GE smart grid website. (enter at your own risk)   

What's the issue with conventional power and systems anyway?

  1. It’s dirty (coal, oil, tar, uranium)…the burning and production of fossil fuels release greenhouse gases. (NDE)
  2. It’s inefficient. Traditional meters do not give households the tools to manage their energy usage. Check out GE’s smart meter as one example of a better way to monitor energy usage.
  3. It’s antiquated. Our current grid system is not able to effectively transport clean, renewable energy to areas that are not nearby the source. That leaves most major cities high and dry. Read Repower America’s description on Smart Grid.

How can we get involved?

  1. Call your local electrical utility and find out if they have a renewable energy division/program. Most do, but it usually requires us to invest above and beyond our current electrical bill.
  2. Take the No Dirty Energy pledge.
  3. Become a supporting member (it’s free) of the Repower America project and receive updates on the energy reform

About the Author

Katherine DalPra is principal and lead designer for Green Diva Jewelry, an eco-friendly jeweler using exclusively recycled metals, sustainable elements, vintage materials and Fair Trade gems. She is an eco-enthusiast looking to share her growing environmental knowledge with other green-aspiring divas. Other posts by Kathy. 

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