“Clean” energy is energy produced from both renewable and carbon-free resources. Compared to traditional energy sources like fossil fuels, clean energy results in far less pollution and is better for our planet.
Renewable and Carbon-Free Energy – What’s the difference?
Renewable energy is produced from resources that are never depleted such as wind and solar. Renewable energy is carbon-free because it does not release greenhouse gases. This is in contrast to fossil fuels which emit large amounts of carbon dioxide, methane and other greenhouse gases when burned, polluting the environment and causing climate change.
But not all carbon-free energy is considered renewable. Carbon-free energy is not renewable if it has harmful environmental impacts. For compliance with California’s Renewable Portfolio Standard rules, nuclear and hydropower are considered carbon-free but NOT renewable due to the impact of nuclear waste and dams.
- Examples of renewable energy sources: wind, solar, biomass, geothermal, and small hydropower
- Examples of carbon-free energy sources: larger hydropower and nuclear as well as all renewable energy resources listed above
- Examples of fossil fuel energy sources: natural gas, coal and oil
San José Clean Energy’s default GreenSource product contains 45% renewable energy from solar, wind and geothermal and 41% carbon-free energy from large hydropower. It is 86% carbon-free overall.
Benefits of Renewable Energy
Renewables are not only better for the environment, but are also becoming cheaper than traditional resources! Unlike fossil fuels, the price of renewable energy is stable in the long-term because there are no fuel costs. Coal and natural gas prices can cause surges in energy costs when fuel supplies become strained, so relying on abundant solar and wind energy helps us keep rates low and stable.
The benefits of renewable energy don’t stop with low, stable prices. It’s good for our health too! When fossil fuel energy is replaced with wind or solar, for example, the air we breathe and the water we drink gets cleaner.
When SJCE buys and builds green power, this has an added bonus of creating more clean energy jobs. Having control over our future energy supply allows the community to support projects that build a cleaner, greener economy.
SJCE is proud to support the city’s and state’s movement towards a more sustainable future for our families and future generations:
- Climate Smart San José, San José’s climate action plan
- California SB 100, requiring 100% clean energy by 2045
- California Energy Commission 2019 Building Energy Efficiency Standards, requiring solar panels on new homes beginning 2020