Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Tennessee green energy sources

A few years ago a friend of mine went off the grid. Green living wasn’t popular then and not everyone thought being grid free was the way to be. Now, most people are doing their part to help the earth by recycling and taking other steps to reduce our carbon footprint.

I was surprised to find out how many possibilities there are for green energy in Tennessee. We don’t hear about these much right now but we’ll probably be hearing a lot about them in the future.

Here are a few of the green energy sites and types that I found for Tennessee.

Wind turbines, like those in Wind Rock are already generating electricity with little environmental impact. The turbines produce no air pollution and can be used as communications towers for cell phones and other devices. Steady wind speeds of 10 – 25 mph are optimal.

Solar Energy farms like the one in Knoxville are generating electricity. The solar farm on Asheville Hwy. is projected to be just the beginning of a growing effort.

Hydroelectric power is so prominent in Tennessee that people forget it’s a renewable resource. This is probably the most common type of green energy in the state. As a result, Tennessee is reputed to have the lowest electricity bills in the country.

Biomass is a relatively new form of green energy. The University of Tennessee Biofuels Initiative is working with Ceres and Dupont Danisco Cellulosic Ethanol to turn switchgrass into energy. So far, nine counties are involved in growing switchgrass. As more is learned about biomass technology it is hoped that more counties will be involved.

As these forms of green energy and others are developed there may be a growing need for energy management systems . Right now, I’m just glad to see that these resources are being explored. It gives me hope that generations from now our children can enjoy the same scenic mountains that we do.