Onsite Renewable Technologies
In This Section
In the United States, electricity is generated primarily from the combustion of a limited supply of fossil fuels, or with large hydroelectric dams, or with nuclear power plants. Each of these traditional approaches presents unique environmental concerns. Renewable energy dramatically lowers pollution emissions, reduces environmental health risks, and slows the depletion of finite natural resources.
Renewable energy is derived from sun, wind, water, or the Earth's core. It also can be derived from biomassor plant matterwhich is grown, harvested, and transferred into energy by one of a number of processes. Renewable technologies are designed to capture and store this energy. They include:
- Photovoltaic solar panels convert sunlight directly into electricity.
- Wind turbines capture wind to turn rotors, which turns a generator and creates electricity.
- Transpired solar collectors use sunlight to preheat air for heating purposes.
- Solar hot water heaters use the sun to heat water for domestic applications.
- Small-scale hydroelectric power plants flow water over turbines, which turn a generator and create electricity.
- Fuel cells combine hydrogen and oxygen to produce electricity and heat.
- Ground source heat pumps transfer heat to the ground in summer and extract heat from the ground in winter.
- Green power is electricity generated from renewable sources such as wind, geothermal, biomass, and landfill gas.
EPA's Use of Renewable Technologies
To promote energy efficiency and environmentally sensitive energy generation, EPA facilities are using renewable energy technologies to supplement or replace a large portion of their energy requirements at the following facilities:
- Ada, Oklahoma (geothermal heat pump)
- Ann Arbor, Michigan (fuel cell)
- Chicago, Illinois, Regional Office (photovoltaic array)
- Corvallis, Oregon (photovoltaic array)
- Edison, New Jersey (solar water heating)
- Gulf Breeze, Florida (solar lighting)
- Golden, Colorado (wind power and transpired solar collector)
- Manchester, Washington (wind power)
- Research Triangle Park, North Carolina (photovoltaic solar panels and street lights)
More on Renewable Technologies
- Links to renewable technologies resources and organizations
- Visit EPA's Conservation and Renewable Energy Reserves site to learn about the economic and regulatory benefits of energy conservation and renewable energy projects.