Your Questions About Renewable Energy Definition

Ruth asks…

What is energy efficiency? How might we measure it, particularly as it relates to GDP?

What happened to US energy efficiency between 1984 and 2005?

admin answers:

“Energy efficiency definition includes all possible methods, techniques, and principles that could lead to more efficient energy use and help decrease global energy demand”, here’s more info
http://www.renewables-info.com/energy_definitions/energy_efficiency_definition.html

Paul asks…

What’s the difference between Conventional, Conventional Alternatives, and Non-conventional energy alternative?

I’m doing some research and have trouble distinguishing the difference between these three types of energy sources.

So far, I have Conventional energy widely used/practical energy sources like oil, gas and coal. My assumption is that they’re the primary ‘standard’ energy sources the world currently uses for their electricity and power since the industrial revolution.

I’m having trouble with the next two energy sources..

Conventional Alternatives, I put that at energy sources that produce less environmental waste and could be used to replace conventional energy sources. An example would be biofuels being used to replace oil/gas for cars. I guess Nuclear power could go under this energy source as it could be used to replace coal in North America but places like France have 90% of their cities powered by Nuclear – would this mean it’s a conventional energy source for France and a conventional alternative to North America? I don’t know..

As for Non-conventional energy.. I put this at energy sources that produce the least amount of environmental waste but are completely unpractical to implement. My example would be hydrogen powered cars because there is no current infrastructure to support Hydrogen fuel gas stations if consumers were to buy them.

I’m just purely guessing here – please share if you disagree or agree with my definition. Also If anybody knows what category other energy sources like wind, solar, and thermal energy belong to, I’ll be super grateful.

admin answers:

Hey Fud, you have a bit of a mess there with definitions. Let me try to explain some of it. The term, “Conventional Energy,” is basically what you have written already. In most cases, it refers to fossil fuel based energies. You have to be careful with this, I’ll explain. Alternative Energy is any energy source that is used to replace a conventional energy source in order to offset the negative side effects of the conventional source. A simple example of this is switching from coal heat in an older home to natural gas. It is less polluting, more efficient, and costs less. Another example, however, was when coal became an alternative energy source for wood in industrial applications in the last century. So in a way, coal could fit into the category of alternative energy, depending on the context.

Your next one, “Conventional Alternative,” is not something I’ve ever heard thrown around in our circles here. It sounds like the news men who refer to airline pilots as, “Fully Qualified.” Most of the airlines I know do not have any partially qualified ones hanging around, but still that phrase shows up on the news a lot. My guess is that coal alternative I just mentioned might be one of those, a conventional fuel used in an alternative way, but I would just be guessing too. I think Non conventional would be the same as Alternative. Conventional Alternative sounds like Jumbo Shrimp to me.

The phrase you haven’t mentioned is the one that is most common in our circles here, “Renewable Energy.” This refers to any energy source that does not deplete with use, it, “renews itself,” over time, hence the name. Solar, wind, hydro and geothermal are the ones I am familiar with.

If you’re wondering where I’m getting all this, it’s because about 10 years ago we decided to convert our home over to wind and solar power. So our home would fit in the alternative category as well as the renewable category. People that grow their own tomatoes rather than buying them at the market know a great deal about soil ph, watering, sunlight and fertilizer, they have to. People that grow their own electrons instead of buying them from the power company have a similar curse, they want to know where each one comes from and where it’s used. So in the end, you learn a bunch of stuff that you can’t really use anyplace else.

I suspect if you’ve been reading these things in popular periodicals like Popular Science, Home and Garden, or the newspaper, you’re just getting caught up in their vernacular on the subject. If you want to go to the source, I will include some places below you can look for more information. Hope this helps. Good luck, and take care.

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