'Green' definition generates debate

In many ways, the definition of green power - like art - remains in the eye of the beholder. Most experts agree that power from wind, solar, geothermal, and biomass sources qualify. A new technology, fuel cells, will likely earn the "green power" moniker, too, if researchers can make them a feasible energy alternative.

But after that, things get dicey.

For example, biomass (the burning of waste from sawmills and farms to create electricity) causes more pollution than hydroelectricity. But many environmentalists don't like hydro-power dams because they block fish runs and change river flows. Some advocates draw a distinction between big or "high-impact" dams and "low-impact" hydro facilities. The latter qualify as green power, they say.

What about natural gas? A new generation of combined-cycle combustion turbines produce energy far more efficiently and cleanly than other fossil-fuel energy plants. But many green-power advocates reject the technology because it's not renewable, and gas-drilling can damage the environment.

So how's a consumer to tell "green" from "near-green"? If you're located in a state that has deregulated its energy and are considering participating in a utility's green-power program, find out what fuel sources the utility calls green. For more information on green power, contact the Renewable Energy Policy Project (www.repp.org) or the Green-e Renewable Electricity Certification Program (www.green-e.org). The Green-e program actually certifies utilities' programs that meet its standards.

(c) Copyright 2001. The Christian Science Publishing Society

About these ads
Sponsored Content by LockerDome

We want to hear, did we miss an angle we should have covered? Should we come back to this topic? Or just give us a rating for this story. We want to hear from you.

Loading...

Loading...

Loading...

Save for later

Save
Cancel

Saved ( of items)

This item has been saved to read later from any device.
Access saved items through your user name at the top of the page.

View Saved Items

OK

Failed to save

You reached the limit of 20 saved items.
Please visit following link to manage you saved items.

View Saved Items

OK

Failed to save

You have already saved this item.

View Saved Items

OK