How Much CO2 Can You Personally Eliminate from the Environment?

Going green is a popular goal, with the Earth suffering an increasing amount of pollution and damage from fossil fuels. The generation of renewable energy has produced significant amounts of carbon emissions that are a primary cause of climate change, but this doesn’t have to be the case.

If you’re interested in pursuing a more eco-friendly approach to your Texas electricity consumption, you have several options available. Learn more about how switching to a green energy rate plan to offset carbon emissions will help the environment, and if you are stuck with a fossil-sourced plan, how you can reduce your usage to cut CO2 and save money in the process. You may be surprised at the impact you can have with small changes to your buying habits with electric companies, as seen with the green equivalencies below.

Renewable vs. Fossil Fuel Electricity Plans

Traditionally, electricity has come from fossil fuels such as natural gas, coal, and oil. These energy sources can take millions of years to replenish, making them a finite resource. In the United States as a whole, the majority of energy still comes from fossil fuels.

US Energy Generation [7]

  • 34% natural gas
  • 30% coal
  • 20% nuclear
  • 15% renewables
  • 1% oil

Green energy sources provide a renewable source of electricity that doesn’t harm the environment. Solar panels and wind energy farms can provide a reliable source of electricity that’s free from the use of fossil fuels. Consumers are gaining more options over where their energy comes from. By mindfully selecting 100% renewable energy plans for your home when reviewing electricity provider plans, you can make sure your home is powered in an eco-friendly way.

The Energy Industry in the U.S.

The landscape of the energy industry in the United States is changing. Between 2007 and 2016, coal’s share of electricity generation in the United States fell from 49% to 30%. Natural gas utilization increased from 22% to 34% and renewable energy went from 8% of total electricity generation to 15%. As of 2018, natural gas accounted for the largest share of electricity generation at 35%. Coal had fallen further to 27%, and renewable energy sources accounted for 17% of electricity generation in the US. [8, 9]

The Energy Industry in Texas

Top energy sources in Texas have traditionally been natural gas, coal, and nuclear power. However, the state is also a leader in renewable power sources. [4]

  • Its capacity for wind power doubled between 2010 and 2017.
  • Texas is ranked in the top 10 in the nation for solar production.

Texas residents have the opportunity to choose the source of their power, and renewable energy isn’t always as costly as you might think. In fact, it is sometimes cheaper than other fossil  options.

The Reliability of Green Power

Working with renewable energy sources is easier and more reliable than most consumers realize. Though cloudy days and nights limit utility-scale solar energy generation, energy plans can be blended with a combination of solar and wind; wind energy is not impacted by off-sunlight periods. Home solar systems often generate more power than they need, and the excess electricity is then fed back into the grid, providing clean, renewable power to others.

Carbon Offset Equivalencies

Renewable power sources produce carbon offsets that benefit the Earth the same way that planting trees or removing cars from the road would. If growing a forest in your backyard isn’t feasible and you can’t give up your daily drive, you can make a significant impact on the environment with your energy choices instead.

Each kWh of electricity generated from fossil fuels creates approximately 1.34 lbs of CO2. A single solar electric array operating at about 80% efficiency can generate around 4,800 kWh a year. This keeps 5,760 pounds of CO2 out of the atmosphere annually. This solar array offsets as much CO2 as 102 trees. [5]

In 2018 alone, the electricity generated by wind turbines in the United States offset about 200 million tons of carbon pollution. This is the equivalent of taking 43 million cars off the road. [6]

Reducing your CO2 at Home

If you wish to reduce your personal carbon emissions, there are certain things that you can do to consume less electricity, such as upgrading your attic insulation and using more energy-efficient appliances. However, it’s likely that you’ll still use a great deal of energy.

The average American home uses 10,399 kWh of power each year. [1] In warmer states such as Texas, average usage is close to 15,000 kWh per year, and many homes average over 24,000 kWh per year.

Fortunately, it’s easy for generators to produce the amount of energy from renewable sources to power the average American home.

100 average American homes can be powered with:

  • 0.15 wind turbines running for a year; or
  • 0.92 football fields of solar panels running for a year.

Fossil Fuel Equivalencies

If your home is still relying on traditional fossil-sourced power rather than green energy and averages 2,000 kWh per month in usage, your annual CO2 emissions are about 34,000 pounds of CO2 per year, equal to any of the following: [3]

  • 41,496  miles driven in the average passenger vehicle.
  • 1,908 gallons of gasoline consumed.
  • 18,552 pound of coal burned.
  • 39.6 barrels of oil consumed.
  • 693.6 propane cylinders used for home barbecues.
  • 31, 758 newspapers recycled.
  • 3,600 young trees planted to absorb CO2.

If you’re uncomfortable with the amount of energy and fossil fuels that you’re consuming in your home, there are many things that you can do to help, beginning with your energy source. In de-regulated energy states you have the option to enroll in 100% green energy plans, so you can power your home comfortably while going green. Comparing electricity rates in Texas and plans that are available from different light companies will help you identify the best provider for your energy. And you can find Texas green energy rates that are actually less than fossil-sourced rates, including some of the cheapest electric company rates in Houston and Dallas from Gexa Energy, TriEagle Energy and Chariot Energy.

Resources:

1 – https://www.eia.gov/tools/faqs/faq.php?id=97&t=3

2 – https://www.epa.gov/greenpower/green-power-equivalency-calculator

3 – https://www.epa.gov/energy/greenhouse-gas-equivalencies-calculator

4 – https://www.smithsonianmag.com/innovation/texas-town-future-renewable-energy-180968410/

5 – http://www.earthruns.org/earthruns.org/index.php/learn/learn

6 – https://www.awea.org/wind-101/benefits-of-wind/environmental-benefits

7 – https://www.amigoenergy.com/blog/renewable-energy-vs-fossil-fuels/ 

8 – http://www.bcse.org/wp-content/uploads/2017-Sustainable-Energy-in-America-Factbook-Slideshow.pdf

9 – https://www.eia.gov/energyexplained/index.php?page=electricity_in_the_united_states