What is green electricity ?
A variety of sources are currently used to generate electricity:
- Fossil fuel
- Nuclear energy
Each country uses these sources in varying proportions giving it its own electricity mix, for example France and Belgium.
Green electricity is electricity produced from renewable resources, in other words, it comes from non fossil energy resources that nature renews.
At present, there are four main sources of green energy:
- Sunlight is converted into electricity using solar panels or solar thermal power plants
- Wind powers turbines that transform mechanical energy into electrical current
- The power of water rushing over a dam that drives turbines that in term generate electricity
- Biomass, a general term that includes, among other things, wooden plant waste that can be burned to generate electricity
There are also a number of other less used sources of energies:
- Geothermal energy generated by hot water deep underground
- and Marine energy a term that covers numerous technologies associated with the seas and oceans.
Green electricity is carried and used through the same grids that power produced using other technologies.
The green electrons derived from solar panels or hydropower plants mixed with the electrons produced by other sources.
It is impossible to tell where the electron comes from or to chase them in the grid, so nobody can say with any certainty what type of electricity is powering their home or office building.
To address this phenomenon, which is due to physics, The European Union has introduced a traceability system of certificats that guarantee the origin of the electricity.
How does this system work: an independent body appointed by the government is responsible for issuing and monitoring these instruments that certify a certain amount of electricity from powerplants that generate renewable electricity has been fed into the network.
Electric utilities buy these guarantees of origin on the bases of their customers power usage. That every kilowatt-hour consumed, the equivalent in renewable electricity is fed into the grid.
This means that by signing up to a 100% green offer, consumers are contributing to the growth of electricity from the renewables sources and helping to reduce carbon emissions.