Are Green Energy Technologies Actually Realistic and Cost Effective for the Busy Modern Family?

We can notice the growth of green energy technology use both in homes and several establishments. As we move forward to a world of high technology and energy conservation, we can say, a great number of people are joining the green energy revolution. However, many people still ask, is renewable energy cost effective and truly attainable by the modern family? We can say yes. Performing the correct measures when planning and using green energy technologies will help individuals create an efficient home renewable energy system.

Calculating Energy Needs

A modern, busy family likely has a substantial need for electricity in their everyday lives. Especially for those who own big homes, the demand for energy can be higher than the average. To ascertain the cost-effectivity of green energy technologies, the crucial and most initial step is to make a thorough examination of the electricity needs. Calculating your electricity needs will help you determine these factors that are important in building your home renewable energy system:

1. The size and cost of the green energy technology that will be used.

2. Fluctuation of your daily and yearly energy needs.

3. Ways you can do to reduce the use of electricity if needed.

When calculating your electricity needs, you must be able to conduct a load analysis of the wattage and the daily use of all your plugged-in electrical devices. Some loads like refrigerator and lights use power consistently, while others, such as power tools only consume electricity occasionally. These electrical devices that require energy intermittently are called selectable loads. If you are willing to use selectable loads only when there is extra energy available, you can use a smaller green energy technology for your home.

If you desire to improve the cost-effectiveness of your home renewable energy system, take measures to reduce the daily use of your electricity. This way, you can buy and install a smaller and less expensive system, while effectively distributing electricity throughout the house.

Knowing the Requirements

Building your own source of renewable energy, especially if you’re residing in a suburban area, requires the permission of your state or community. You must be able to follow the set of codes and regulations before and while you’re using your own source of energy. These regulations will affect what kind of system you will use and how your system must work. The requirements for utilizing green energy technology can come from your local officials, local renewable organization or your state energy office.

Your system will undergo inspections to assure its safety. Building inspectors and electrical examiners will make sure your system conforms to the existing standards. Your home renewable energy system may also undergo tests, and may be required to pass electrical and plumbing inspections. You may check with your building code office prior to creating or purchasing green energy technology to learn about the requirements. You will likely get approval if you or your installer, follow the National Electrical Code (NEC).

Choosing How Your System Works

There are two ways how your home renewable energy system can work: through a grid-connected system, or a stand-alone (off-grid) system.

Those who are living in a city, or in a residential or busy area, mostly prefer a grid-connected system. They connect their renewable energy system to the grid and use it to reduce the amount of energy they acquire from the grid. This system also allows people to sell the excess power they produce back to their electricity provider.

On the other hand, some people who are living in remote areas usually go for stand-alone systems. They use their own home renewable energy systems in place of the power provided through the grid.

Both grid-connected system and stand-alone systems require the use of balance-of-system. Balance-of-system consists of tools or equipment to safely transmit energy. Grid-connected systems need these tools to comply with the power provider’s requirements, which may include materials, conditioning equipment, and safety equipment. While a stand-alone system’s balance-of-system may comprise of safety equipment, batteries, conditioning equipment, meters, as well as instrumentation.

Picking the Right Green Energy Technology

There are several technology options available today that you can choose from as part of your system. It is of great significance to have a basic understanding of how your chosen technology works before you acquire them. The following technologies can be used alone, or combined with other technologies, or in conjunction with fossil fuel:

• Solar power systems

• Wind power systems

• Micro hydropower systems

• Hybrid solar and wind power systems

About the Author:

Elena has always been passionate about helping others get the most out of their life and reach their fullest potential. Elena is the digital marketing manager at When she’s not writing, Elena enjoys travelling to exotic places around the world.


Cornell Engineers Transform Food Waste into Green Energy

By: Blaine Friedlander

Robert Barker/University Photography A truck dumps Cornell dining hall food waste at the university’s composting facility in March 2017. Through the processes of hydrothermal liquefaction and anaerobic digestion, food waste can be turned into valuable green energy.

In a classic tale of turning trash into treasure, two different processes soon may be the favored dynamic duo to turn food waste into green energy, according to a new Cornell-led study in the journal Bioresource Technology.

“Food waste should have a high value. We’re treating it as a resource, and we’re making marketable products out of it,” said lead author Roy Posmanik, a postdoctoral researcher. “Food waste is still carbon – a lot of carbon.”

The researchers show that by using hydrothermal liquefaction before anaerobic digestion, virtually all of the energy is extracted from the food waste. In hydrothermal liquefaction, the waste is basically pressure cooked to produce a crude bio-oil. That oil can be refined into biofuel.

The remaining food waste, which is in an aqueous state, is anaerobically digested by microbes within days. The microbes convert the waste into methane, which can be used to produce commercial amounts of electricity and heat.

“If you used just anaerobic digestion, you would wait weeks to turn the food waste into energy,” said Posmanik, who works in both the laboratories of co-authors Jeff Tester, professor of chemical and biochemical engineering, and Lars Angenent, professor of biological and environmental engineering. “The aqueous product from hydrothermal processing is much better for bugs in anaerobic digestion than using the raw biomass directly. Combining hydrothermal processing and anaerobic digestion is more efficient and faster. We’re talking about minutes in hydrothermal liquefaction and a few days in an anaerobic digester.”

Food waste is the single largest component going into municipal landfills in the United States, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. About one-third of the world’s food – nearly 1.3 billion tons – is lost or wasted, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. For all industrialized nations, food waste accounts for roughly $680 billion annually. In addition, composting and digestion of food waste are inefficient and slow.

Putting hydrothermal liquefaction first in an engineering process and finishing with anaerobic digestion completes a food-water-energy nexus, Posmanik said. “We must reduce the amount of stuff we landfill, and we must reduce our carbon footprint. If we don’t have to extract oil out of the ground to run cars or if we’re using anaerobic digestion to make green electricity, we’re enhancing energy and food security.”

The paper, “Coupling Hydrothermal Liquefaction and Anaerobic Digestion for Energy Valorization From Model Biomass Feedstocks,” was co-authored by Rodrigo A. Labatut, Pontifical Catholic University of Chile; Andrew H. Kim ’17; and former post-doctoral researcher Joseph G. Usack.

This research was supported by BARD (the United States-Israel Binational Agricultural Research and Development Fund), Cornell’s Atkinson Center for a Sustainable Future, the Cornell Energy Institute, and the Chilean Fund for Science and Technology.


What happens in Vegas…

By: Jim Roth


It’s been said that “What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas,” yet Las Vegas and Nevada are making news that is worth talking about for Oklahoma and elsewhere.

In this new era of state-led environmental leadership, one state is getting its renewable energy policies back on track – Nevada. Already a longtime environmental leader, Nevada was in the top 20 when Forbes published its list of the greenest states back in 2007. In 2016, the Mandalay Bay Convention Center in Las Vegas became the largest rooftop solar installation in the U.S.

This session, Nevada lawmakers voted-in several solar-friendly measures: one that will bring back net-metering at 95 percent of retail rate (net-metering is a mechanism whereby distributed generation customers are paid for the excess power their systems place back on to the grid), and another bill that directs the state’s public utility to plan for expansion of electric vehicles and infrastructure, begin accounting for the costs of carbon emissions, and to look into energy storage opportunities.

Nevada made big green news last year when MGM Resorts International and Wynn Resorts, two of the largest customers of the state’s public utility – the Berkshire Hathaway-owned NV Energy – were permitted to pay exit fees of more than $127 million to cease obtaining power from the public utility in order to pursue sourcing power on their own from renewable energies. This opportunity to source power from a third party was the result of a 2001 law that promoted new power generation in the state at that time.

News of the approved exit fees was even more noteworthy since one of the first applications for autonomy from the public utility came from Nevada technology company Switch, but was denied. That company eventually forged a deal whereby NV Energy would provide the 100 percent renewable energy Switch sought to attain.

It is exciting to see successful free-market environmentalism. The bold moves of these giant companies are illustrative of what I discussed last week, which is to say states and businesses, and not the federal government, have the power, influence, and desire to design and construct our energy and environmental landscape. And that is important as much of “corporate America” is moving toward self-styled energy options to control their operating costs and improve their brand’s environmental reputation.

Providing some semblance of hope for Oklahoma after a legislative session that was not kind to our state’s renewable energy blessings is that Nevada’s bright future comes after a recent dark past. In late 2015, despite a recent report that indicated solar consumers give more to the grid than they cost, the Nevada Public Utility Commission voted unanimously to remove the state’s net metering policy, leaving customers who had invested in solar infrastructure no longer being paid for energy they placed onto the grid.

Oklahoma is familiar with the proverbial pulling-the-rug-out laws. The distributed generation surcharge bill – Senate Bill 1456 – was passed in 2014 and created a lot of market uncertainty for Oklahomans and the rooftop solar industry. Since its passage, Oklahoma’s regulated utilities have been unsuccessful in their efforts to add a new surcharge as the Oklahoma Corporation Commission has righty analyzed the evidence and determined that rooftop solar is in fact not being subsidized by non-rooftop customers. In fact, the evidence revealed the opposite. Now it’s time for the Oklahoma Legislature to follow the lead of states like Nevada and allow Oklahomans the legal right to earn the true value of the energy they create for the greater grid and the greater good.

Good news for Nevadans: Tesla and solar installer Sunrun indicate these new policies will allow them to resume operations in the state after having recently departed due to industry-threatening policies. Also, you might be interested to know that the iconic Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas Nevada sign is itself actually powered by solar energy. Now that is welcome news.


Electric Vehicle Rally Sets Off in Switzerland

By: Jamey Keaten

Driver Supercop from team “Maroc” gets out of his Microlino, during the start of the Wave Trophy 2017 tour, on Friday, June 9, 2017, in Zurich, Switzerland. The World Advanced Vehicle Expedition rally, now in its seventh edition, is the brainchild of an environmentally-minded Swiss former teacher who wants to promote plug-in vehicles over carbon-spewing combustion engines. The rally takes the teams over 1,600 kilometers in 8 days. (Michael Buholzer/Keystone via AP)

Drivers in scores of electric vehicles, some in superhero or other quirky get-ups, embarked Friday on a week long trek around Switzerland as part of a grassroots movement to fight global warming.

The World Advanced Vehicle Expedition rally, now in its seventh edition, is the brainchild of an environmentally-minded Swiss former teacher who wants to promote plug-in vehicles over carbon-spewing combustion engines.

The rally takes the teams over 1,600 kilometers (995 miles) in eight days. It started in downtown Zurich with a ceremony among EV enthusiasts and no small number of gawking passers-by.

A total of 112 trucks, cars, motorbikes and three-wheeled contraptions somewhere in-between, all electric-powered, are riding in what’s billed as the largest electric vehicle rally of its kind in the world.

One driver from Morocco wore a cape and superhero outfit, calling himself “Super-COP”: an allusion to the U.N.-backed Conference of Parties process that led to accords like the Paris climate agreement in 2015.

The vehicles must run on electricity during the rally and travel at least 250 kilometers (150 miles) per day. Re-charging stations dot the route.

Nearly half of the vehicles this year are from Switzerland, while more than one-quarter come from Germany. Countries including Austria, Italy, France, Romania and Morocco are also represented.

Electric vehicles are presented during the start of the Wave Trophy 2017 tour, on Friday, June 9, 2017, in Zurich, Switzerland. The World Advanced Vehicle Expedition rally, now in its seventh edition, is the brainchild of an environmentally-minded Swiss former teacher who wants to promote plug-in vehicles over carbon-spewing combustion engines. The rally takes the teams over 1,600 kilometers in 8 days. (Michael Buholzer/Keystone via AP)

Founder Louis Palmer, 44, quit his job as a teacher a decade ago and fulfilled his dream of building a solar-powered car—getting help from researchers and supporters across Switzerland.

In 2010, Palmer traveled the world in his “solartaxi” for the adventure and to drum up attention and interest in cleaner transportation.

“When we started about 10 years ago, we had ranges of up to 200 kilometers (125 miles). Today the cars that you can already buy in the shops make ranges of up to 3-400 kilometers (185-250 miles), and in the future we are going to see ranges of 6-700 kilometers (375-435 miles) easily in the next few years,” he said.


Energy From Renewable Sources Passed Another Milestone in UK

Britain made another history on the eve of election day, when power from wind, solar, hydro and wood pellet burning supplied 50.7 per cent of the UK’s total energy consumption.

London: Britain made another history on the eve of election day, when power from wind, solar, hydro and wood pellet burning supplied 50.7 per cent of the UK’s total energy consumption on Wednesday. It is the first time renewable sources have provided more electricity than coal and gas, Independent reported.

There are several schemes that provide financial support for renewable energy in UK . These schemes encourage technological development and wider adoption of renewables which in turn lead to economies of scale and lower costs.

The renewable energy industry has achieved its highest ever output as wind turbines and solar panels help to meet more than half of the UK’s electricity demand. National Grid’s data at lunchtime on Wednesday showed that solar panels produced around 7.6 GW of electricity while wind farms generated 9.5 GW of power. In addition, the UK burnt 2 GW of renewable biomass, made from waste wood, and produced a modest amount of hydro electricity to help squeeze traditional power plants off the system, the Telegraph reported.

It is the third milestone for cleaner power passed in the space of just a few months. In May, the National Grid reported that solar had broken another record in the UK, providing 8.7 GW of power, or nearly a quarter (24.3 per cent) of the nation’s requirements, the Independent reported.

On April 22, 2017, Britain marked its first ever coal-free day by using power without coal, since the country’s Industrial Revolution. It was the first time in 130 years that Britain went a day without having to turn on its coal-fired power stations.

Coal reserves have been declining in Britain in recent years, accounting for just 9% of electricity generation in 2016, down from around 23% the year before, as coal plants closed or switched to burning biomass such as wood pellets.

Britain is phasing out fossil fuel to meet its climate change commitments and last coal power station will be forced to close in 2025.

The chief disadvantage with energy from renewable sources is that the supply isn’t always reliable. But in this case, in UK the Grid has been working on ways to deal with that, and the fact that it has a habit of cutting out entirely on occasion. Energy storage has the potential to alleviate the problem, the Independent reported.