Sometimes it seems like clean, renewable, people-friendly energy is a distant dream for a surreal world. But it doesn’t have to be that way. We’ve made significant progress in overcoming financial and technological barriers to implementing more renewable energy projects, even though there are still many challenges to overcome. We can take strides to make even more progress, especially through greater education and implementation, because we already have the technology we need.
Permaculture sites often use some type of renewable energy source for their energy needs. The most popular types are solar and wind, but there are also projects that now use compost for energy. For those who can’t afford to install solar panels or wind turbines, they have an option in financial permaculture.
The Permaculture Credit Union is a unique, visionary banking institution that is founded on permaculture ethics. It hosts a Sustainability Discount Program, which provides discounted loans for customers who use their loans for sustainable installations, including energy efficiency, renewable energy generation, permaculture landscaping, water catchment and delivery, farm machinery, etc. In exploring creative ways to finance renewable energy projects, the PCU offers just one more incentive.
Renewable energy comes from sources that are continually replenished by nature, such as sunlight, wind, rain, tides, waves, and geothermal heat. Our sun was born about 4.6 billion years ago, with another 5 billion years left to burn brightly, so we can reliably depend on sunlight for energy for the next 5 billion years.
Wind power converts kinetic energy from wind into electricity. Many permaculture sites also install wind turbines to reduce energy dependence. They typically all have the same design, with a horizontal axis having an upwind rotor with three blades, attached to the top of a tall tubular tower.
If you’ve enjoyed a relaxing soak in a hot spring, you’ll have experienced firsthand the power and potential of geothermal energy. Geothermal energy converts thermal energy trapped within the Earth into electricity. This thermal energy originates from the original formation of the planet and from radioactive decay of minerals.
In truth, these technologies are fairly straightforward. The more we can spread the word through education and implementation, the more quickly we can overcome the existing challenges. As this continues to happen, we can truly realize our hopes of living in a world powered by clean, renewable energy.