The Promise of Renewable Energy

Wind, water, and sunlight are naturally occurring sources of energy. With proper development, these energy sources can help us meet our long-term electricity needs while offering numerous benefits to individuals and communities—from reducing carbon dioxide emissions and saving the environment to increasing energy independence and driving economic growth.

Wind energy is electricity generated by wind turbines. Turbines are typically mounted on towers at a height that ensures maximum and uninterrupted exposure to wind currents. Wind rotates the turbine's blades, which in turn spins a shaft and converts mechanical energy to electrical energy.

The Case for Wind Energy

  • Environment. Carefully designed wind farms ensure minimal use of land and minimal impact on flora and fauna. Electricity is produced on site without the need for other fuels.
  • Economics. The cost of wind-produced energy has fallen considerably thanks to improving and maturing technology. Wind energy development also drives economic activity by creating jobs and increasing the local tax base.
  • Community. Locally-produced wind energy keeps money flowing through the local economy rather than sending it elsewhere. It also helps communities avoid dealing with spikes in energy costs associated with fossil fuels. Finally, wind energy helps preserve agricultural land that is necessary to meet food demands.

Solar electric systems capture sunlight to increase the energy of electrons in semiconductor material. Electricity is then produced via the photoelectric effect. In addition to solar electric systems, solar power options include solar space heating and solar hot water systems that heat water for use in any type of building.

The Case for Solar Energy

  • Environment. Capturing solar energy and converting it to electricity is a clean option that preserves fossil fuels and does not produce greenhouse gases.
  • Finance. Solar energy is derived from sunlight, a resource that is both readily available and free. As technology continues to advance and solar electric systems become increasingly efficient, associated costs have continued to decline, making solar energy a viable alternative to fossil fuels.
  • Scalability. Solar energy is an option for many different users in many different scenarios. While small solar electric systems can meet the needs of individual homeowners and small businesses, large-scale systems can help power entire communities.

Hydro energy harnesses the power of moving water to generate electricity. It can be generated in many forms, from hydroelectric dams to systems that capture the kinetic energy in rivers and streams, marine currents, and ocean tides.

The Case for Hydro Energy

  • Environment. Hydro energy can often be captured and converted to electricity with minimal impact on the environment. It also reduces the need to use non-renewable forms of energy such as oil and coal.
  • Flexibility. Moving water is found in many forms throughout the world and current technologies allow for hydro electricity to be generated via several methods. This means facilities and systems can be tailored to the available resources and energy needs of surrounding communities.
  • Stability. Hydro electricity can add stability to the local and regional electrical grid. First, controlling the flow of water means the amount of energy produced can easily be modified to meet demand. Second, when a dam is used, large reservoirs of potential energy production are there when needed. Finally, hydro energy facilities can typically generate power without outside sources of power.