What is Green Energy and Why Does it Matter?

SHINE Partners | August 2021


Green energy is a term used often these days. We hear about climate change, green energy, and fossil fuels in the news – but what does it all mean? Green energy is generated from natural resources such as sunlight, wind, or water, and is specifically defined as renewable energy that doesn’t negatively impact the environment. So, why does this matter? Many energy resources release “greenhouse gases” such as carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), nitrous oxide (N2O), and fluorinated gases. Each of these can remain in the atmosphere for many years, causing what’s known as the “greenhouse effect.”

Naturally, the atmosphere is designed to contain certain levels of heat produced by the sun’s rays in order to keep the earth at a suitable climate to sustain life. When the air is filled with greenhouse gases, an excessive amount of heat can be trapped causing the earth’s temperature to increase.

Aside from climate change concerns, these air pollutants are also directly harmful to the earth and to humans. When people are constantly exposed to these chemicals in the air they breathe, they can develop lung diseases and other severe health complications. Thankfully, green energy provides a powerful and safer alternative resource that is better for the environment, eco systems, plants, animals, and people. This makes the need for utilizing green energy much more pressing. Transitioning to renewable and sustainable sources of energy reduces the need for fossil fuels which in turn reduces greenhouse gas emissions.


Ways to utilize green energy and reduce greenhouse gas emissions:

Install solar panels. There are many renewable energy resources, such as solar power. Businesses that switch to solar become less reliant on the energy grid, reduce their company’s carbon footprint, lower their electric bill, and earn money back on their investment. Companies that make the investment in solar power and leasing land for renewable resources can even help contribute green energy to the grid.

Switch to energy efficient transportation. Motor vehicles that burn fossil fuels (oil and gas) are the primary way many people travel day to day. There are many alternative transportation methods that can help reduce greenhouse gases though. Driving an electric or energy efficient vehicle is the best alternative, but if this isn’t an option, avoiding idling, carpooling with friends or co-workers, or taking public transportation can still help.

Implement hybrid energy systems. The combination of solar, wind, and battery storage is an excellent way to generate energy that is reliable and efficient, and then house it until it’s ready for use. A system built from multiple power sources like this enables energy consumers to have access to non-intermittent electrical power that is both clean and sustainable.


Even when the full life cycle of a green energy source is taken into consideration, it releases far less greenhouse gases than traditional fuel sources. This, in combination with the reduced level of air pollutants, is not only better for the planet, but is also better for the health of people. Together, by finding ways to utilize green, renewable energy resources, we can make the world a better place.

Green energy can also lead to stable energy prices, the creation of jobs, and an infrastructure that is less dependent on centralized sources of power that may be disrupted by natural disasters or other crises. Green energy also represents a low-cost solution that could help people in developing nations all over the world.


For more information about green energy, visit https://www.energy.gov/science-innovation/clean-energy.

Learn more about renewable energy options on the Natural Resources Defense Council’s website https://www.nrdc.org/stories/renewable-energy-clean-facts.

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