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How the Earth Works

Energy and Our Future

(4) Making or Choosing Your Own Source of Electricity

Where do you buy your electricity from? Many of you might take it for granted that power companies generate most of the electricity we use.

Today the situation is changing. More households are installing solar panels or mini-wind turbines on the rooftops of their houses to generate the electricity they need.

Have you ever heard the term "community-owned power plant"? In this system, local citizens donate money to buy solar panels and/or windmills for power generation. By generating electricity this way, citizens can save money and also sell electricity they don't use. The money they save can then be used to build another community-owned power plant.

Although it would be rather difficult to generate all the electricity you need in your house, wouldn't it be great if we could at least choose the type of electricity we use in our homes, for example, electricity generated from wind instead of from oil?

In Sweden, you can buy the type of energy you like from the company of your choice. When you buy energy from a wind power company, the company gives you a certificate that proves your purchase. Some trains in Sweden run on certified wind power.

Many wind turbines are built at windy places on the land and the ocean.

In Germany and Denmark, electric companies must buy solar or wind power at higher prices as a rule. This encourages more people, households and companies alike, to generate solar or wind power. More and more renewable energy is being generated in these countries today.

Thanks to advancements in technology, electricity can be generated in any space of your home, whether it's the backyard, veranda, or rooftop. In the near future, we might see every home with at least one renewable power generator.