Thursday, January 15, 2015

Green-e Energy

2012 Green-e Verification Report

Mission and Statement of Purpose

Statement of Purpose
Green-e certifies environmental commodities and products that mitigate climate change and help build a sustainable energy future.
The mission of the Green-e program and its governing body, the Green-e Governance Board, is to:
  • Bolster customer confidence in the reliability of retail electricity products reflecting renewable energy generation.

  • Expand the retail market for electricity products incorporating renewable energy, including expanding the demand for new renewable energy generation.

  • Provide customers clear information about retail clean energy products to enable them to make informed purchasing decisions.

  • Encourage the deployment of electricity products that minimize air pollution and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Why Renewable Energy?

Electricity generation is the leading cause of industrial air pollution in the U.S. Most of our electricity comes from coal, nuclear, and other non-renewable power plants. Producing energy from these resources takes a severe toll on our environment, polluting our air, land, and water.

Renewable energy sources can be used to produce electricity with fewer environmental impacts. It is possible to make electricity from renewable energy sources without producing CO2, the leading cause of global climate change.

But first, just what is renewable energy? Renewable energy is energy derived from natural resources that replenish themselves over a period of time without depleting the Earth's resources. These resources also have the benefit of being abundant, available in some capacity nearly everywhere, and they cause little, if any, environmental damage. Energy from the sun, wind, and thermal energy stored in the Earth's crust are examples. For comparison, fossil fuels such as oil, coal, and natural gas are not renewable, since their quantity is finite—once we have extracted them they will cease to be available for use as an economically-viable energy source. While they are produced through natural processes, these processes are too slow to replenish these fuels as quickly as humans use them, so these sources will run out sooner or later.

Renewable energy provides many benefits to peoplebusiness, and the planet.

Electricity Generation and your Health

  • 66% of the nation's sulfur dioxide (SO2), which causes acid rain, comes from electricity generation. According to the American Lung Association, sulfur dioxide affects breathing, increases respiratory illness, weakens pulmonary defenses and aggravates cardiovascular diseases.

  • 25% of nitrogen oxides (NOx), which react with sunlight to create ground level ozone and smog, come from electricity generation. Ozone and smog irritate the lungs and lower resistance to infections like influenza, according to the American Lung Association.

  • Ozone (O3) occurs naturally in the upper atmosphere where it is beneficial. However, ozone in the lower atmosphere creates the urban haze which we call smog. Automobiles and electricity generation are the top contributors to ground level ozone. It causes over 1.5 million significant respiratory problems per year in children and adults. Short term effects include coughing, lung irritation and exacerbation of respiratory disease. Long term effects include chronic lung disease and even cancer.

  • Particulate matter is a type of air pollution more commonly referred to as soot. Exposure to particulate matter is especially harmful to people with lung disease (e.g. asthma, bronchitis, emphysema) and heart disease.

  • Carbon dioxide (CO2) is a climate change gas that causes global warming. Global warming can lead to the spread of infectious diseases such as malaria and dengue fever. It also contributes to air quality problems, which increase the health effects of other air pollutants. Long-term effects associated with fossil fuel burning could be even more alarming than air pollution-related deaths today. In the future, tropical diseases could thrive as the earth's climate warms, and deaths due to extreme weather conditions (e.g. hypothermia) could increase.

  • Mercury is a highly toxic metal that is released from coal-fired power plants. Mercury accumulates in the fat cells of fish and other animals. When humans eat the fish, they are exposed to mercury. Mercury causes permanent damage to the liver and central nervous system, causing loss of motor function, slurred speech, tunnel vision, and loss of hearing. Mercury is particularly harmful when ingested by pregnant or nursing women as it can cause birth defects and developmental defects. Because mercury accumulates in biological organisms it is constantly being recycled in the environment as it moves up the food chain.

1 comment:

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