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The term Renewable Energy is relatively new to most people. As the world becomes more aware about what is causing global warming, people are looking for ways to reduce our impacts on the environment. Renewable energy is a critical part of the solution to global warming.

Renewable energy is produced from resources that cannot be depleted such as hydro dams, solar, and wind. When energy is produce from fire, it consumes the fuel that feeds the fire, therefore the fuel cannot be used again. This is an example of non-renewable energy. When energy is produced from a wind turbine, it doesn`t consume the wind or deplete the supply of wind, therefore it is a form of renewable energy.

Because renewable energy sources do not depend of fire, there are no carbon dioxide emissions that cause global warming. Our energy supplies in the last century relied on fire to generate power. To build a sustainable future, we must transition to renewable energy to supply our homes, workplaces, and transportation (see electric car).

Where Does My Energy Come From?

Some people think electricity is a clean source of energy, however, there is a lot of pollution created from generating the electricity we use in our homes and workplaces. Electricity can be generated using a number of energy sources, including:

  • Hydro (water from dammed rivers generates power)
  • Nuclear
  • Solar
  • Wind
  • Coal
  • Natural Gas

The energy source used to generate electricity is what creates pollution. Many regions in Canada use all of the above electricity sources, but in various amounts (commonly called the energy mix).

Coal is the worst energy source to use as it produces a significant amount of air pollution and carbon dioxide, which is contributing to global warming. The Canadian national energy mix contains about 13% coal, whereas in Ontario, approximately 19% of the provinces electricity is generated from coal. Therefore the amount of pollution from electricity is determined by the energy mix of your region. The following is a list of provinces that use coal to produce energy and the percentage of energy that is produced from coal:


% of Energy From Coal



Nova Scotia






New Brunswick




Switching to Renewable Energy

Some companies and individuals have installed wind and solar generators to create their own energy, while others have opted to purchase their electricity from companies that provide renewable electricity (see renewable energy from Bullfrog Power).

There are a number of incentive programs across the country for installing wind generators or rooftop solar panels, including energy buy-back programs (see the Ontario microFIT Program). Check with your provincial government for more information.

Renewable energy is the path to a sustainable future. The sooner we embrace it, the more impact we will have in reducing the effects of global warming.

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