What are renewable energy consultants? Clean energy, alternative energy, and renewable energy are terms that are easily confused, but each refers to distinct characteristics that have some overlap.
When we speak of “clean energy” we refer to how the energy impacts the environment. Energy created with clean, harmless, and minimally polluting methods, are the cleanest energies. The converse of clean energy is dirty energy. Typically wind, solar, and hydroelectric are considered the cleanest, since, after they are constructed, they produce almost no byproducts and have small (but not zero) environmental effects. Biofuels and biogas are relatively clean since they produce very small amounts of byproducts. Coal and petroleum usually are considered ‘dirty’ since there are very significant byproducts such as fly ash, water wastes, and air emissions.
When we speak of “alternative energy”, we refer to types of energy that replace some conventional energy sources such as fossil fuels (coal and oil). Biofuels, biogas, wind, and solar are alternative energy sources, and even natural gas can be considered an alternative to coal or oil in some circumstances.
Finally, when we speak of “renewable energy”, we refer to an energy that comes from some natural resource that is renewable. The question here is whether the energy source is something that can be used over and over again without running out. Biofuels, biogas, solar, and wind are renewable since the resources are replenished continuously. Natural gas, oil, and coal are finite resources that are not being replenished (at any measurable rate), so they are not renewable.
While it is easy, and often correct, to think of certain types of energies as being clean, renewable, and alternative, this is not always the case. Two examples come to mind. Biofuels made from feedstocks like waste vegetable oil, corn, or biomass, might fit all three criteria. They are clean in that they pollute much less than conventional coal or oil. They are alternative in that they provide a substitute for conventional fossil resources. And, they are renewable in that they are made from natural resources that grow yearly and are continually replenished. An energy source that would not fit all three categories is natural gas. Natural gas is relatively clean burning and is certainly a desirable alternative to coal or nuclear for power generation, but it is not renewable to any appreciable extent.
Lee Enterprises Consulting is the world’s largest renewable energy consulting group with over 150 renewable energy consultants. We have renewable energy experts who understand and specialize in clean, alternative, and renewable energies, and can help clients make the best choices as to any of these types of energy. We are the world’s largest renewable energy consulting firm with over 150 renewable energy consultants.We have experts in biofuels, renewable chemicals, bio technologies, fermentation, energy crops, torrefaction, renewable diesel, hydroprocessing, biomass, synthetic diesel – just to name a few. Feel free to call or email us for more information. See also: Alternative Energy & Renewable Fuels Companies and Due Diligence for Emerging Technologies.