Green Power is a term used to describe electric energy produced from renewable resources, such as solar, wind, geothermal, small hydro and biomass. These methods of producing electricity have a low impact on our environment and do not consume non-renewable resources such as coal and natural gas.
The sun sends an endless stream of energy speeding to earth every day. Solar generators use this energy to create electricity thru the use of photovoltaic (PV) applications. PV systems convert the suns energy into electrical energy in what are called photovoltaic cells. The Southwestern US is one of the sunniest regions on earth, receiving almost twice as much of the suns energy as other regions of the US. PWP has a solar power rebate program for both residents and business that will save you thousands, even hundreds of thousands of dollars on installation costs and your energy bill, depending on the size of your system.
Wind turns turbines or windmills to create electricity. Like Solar, wind generated energy emits no air pollutants or greenhouse gases. About 3 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity are generated in the United States each year. Many of us have seen these “wind farms” near Palm Springs, Tehachapi, or east of San Francisco.
PWP recently added wind power to its Green Power portfolio by signing a long-term agreement to buy a six megawatt share in the High Winds generation facility in Solano County in Northern California.
Small Scale Hydro
Electricity produced by falling water can be classified as either large-scale or small-scale hydro. Large-scale hydroelectric plants require dams to be constructed, thus restricting the natural migration of fish and wildlife. Large-scale hydro can have a dramatic impact on the entire ecosystem. Small-scale hydro on the other hand is positioned on rivers and streams to have much less of an impact. Hydroelectric plants less than 30 megawatts (MW) are considered a renewable resource.
Just as it fuels volcanoes, magma heats water deep below the earth’s surface and forces it up as steam. This steam can be used to operate geothermal plants very economically while having a minimal impact on the environment – and they do this while producing only about one-sixth of the carbon dioxide produced by a natural gas fueled electrical plant.
The most common use of biomass electric plants in our area burn the methane produced by landfills. Other biomass plants burn organic material, such as wood and agricultural waste to produce energy. Today electricity produced at biomass plants accounts for about 4% of all electrical energy produced in the US and almost 45% of all renewable energy.