It is said that we started to use renewable energy when our ancestors learned how to produce fire using wood. Other than burning wood, they have at their disposal the other natural resources for their energy needs. Sources like water, sun, wind and geothermal heat were already being taken advantage of.
The sun being the most fascinating source had caught the attention of people from the ancient time, that is why, the Pantheon of Rome has the oculus on top. Besides that, the sun had been the dominant source of lighting during that time until the early 18th century when kerosene lamps were invented.
The wind’s energy was used during the times when the expeditions started. This source was used to power and propel ships. Meanwhile geothermal power in water was used for heating purposes.
So contrary to the notion that renewable energy only started after global warming, these energy sources are the only energy source known to man before fossil fuels were introduced in the 18th century.
The Different Renewable Energy Resources
As the ozone layer is thinning out, individuals and government bodies started to research alternative energy resources and how to distribute them so as to replace the nonrenewable ones that is predominantly used today.
Wind Energy. This source had been around for many decades now, however, it had not been used so much because the wind turbines cannot be built on small lands, thus, there was an issue of looking for suitable locations for these turbines.
However in 2010, according to Global Wind Energy Council there was a growth of 22.5% in wind capacity. This shows promising results as this means that a lot chose this renewable source despite the fact that coal and natural gas sources are much cheaper.
There are hundreds of global companies using this to generate electricity. Meanwhile, tidal power converts the energy of tides to electricity. This energy source, though, is still not widely used because the materials to make a system to get tidal power is very expensive.
Lastly, hydroelectric energies are coming from dams. This is widely used in Asia, particularly in China which is the largest producer of hydroelectric power.
Biomass. This renewable energy source comes from biological materials. Woods, hydrogen gas, plants and other living organisms are used to generate this energy. However, biomass is commonly plant matter that is grown to produce heat which means that it may include living biomass as live plants can also produce electricity.
Geothermal Energy. The Earth’s core is continuously producing heat, that’s why there are volcanoes and geysers. And with human intelligence, this heat form became a generator of electricity and energy. There are three types of energy production from this geothermal source: flash steam plants, dry steam plants and binary power cycles. All three transfer heat from liquid or water to the power turbines.
Solar Energy. The value of the sun in producing earth-friendly energy is still unsurpassed. This form of energy uses photovoltaic systems in order to convert sun’s light to energy that powers homes in a lot of countries.
Before, the system that is being used was so expensive but as the demand for green energy rises, many solar power corporation started creating affordable and efficient solar panels to bring the energy source to more homes and industries. ( see “how do solar panels work“)
China remains undisputed in the renewable energy sector as most of these sources can be found there. India is slowly following suit in terms of producing solar energy because of its location which receives about 300 days of sunlight. The Americas is not far behind, with renewable energy companies left and right, researching and engineering developments in the industry.
Kinds of Renewable Energy Systems
To convert the renewable sources to energy, systems were made and currently being developed. These systems are undergoing continuous improvement for efficiency and affordability. These systems also have location requirements that must be met in order to be used to its maximum capacity, thus, further studies are being done to make sure that most locations will have access to green energies.
Advocates or companies advocating renewable energy developed wave farms to make use of water energy. A wave farm is a group or groups of machine in one place that is used as generators of wave electricity.
In line with making sure that people can switch to Earth-friendly sources, financing firms and government bodies are lending more funds to produce this system. In the United Kingdon (UK) for example, it was announced in 2007 by the Scottish Executive that it will release budget to fund the building of a wave farm in Scotland.
In the United States currently one company, the Grays Harbor Ocean Energy Company has applied for permits from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to get energy from the waves of the waters of Hawaii, Massachusetts, New York, California and Rhode Island. According to Wikipedia, this will be the largest renewable energy project in the country with a budget of $28 billion.
Another renewable energy system is the wind turbine generator. Building one requires a large parcel of land because one turbine alone can stand at 120 feet. This system or device converts kinetic energy from the wind to electrical energy.
There are different kinds of turbine designs which produce the same effect; the difference lies mainly on the capacity to generate energy. Two major designs are the vertical-axis wind turbines and the horizontal-axis wind turbines.
The most common type of renewable energy system which can be found in a home or in a community is the solar power system. This is divided into two kinds: the photovoltaics which directly capture sunlight; and the concentrated solar power system which uses lens and mirrors to focus the large area of sunlight and make it a beam that produces the electricity.
This may be the renewable energy system that requires a more affordable investment from homeowners. There are also companies offering do-it-yourself (DIY) solar panel kits which most people use to power their small appliances. Portable systems are also available and is widely used by those who like outdoor activities.
Renewable Energy Credits Information and CREBS
Renewable Energy Credits or RECs, commonly known as Green Tag and can be called Tradable Energy Certificates are non-material commodities in the US that are created for electricity placed on the grid per 1 Megawatt-hour or 1000 kWh. It gives buyers flexibility in purchasing renewable energy power in different geographical areas.
It also allows application to green characteristics to the electricity used at the location of choice. These grants are given to promote support to green power development and protect the environment, as well. This commodity has two markets in America, namely compliance and voluntary markets.
Compliance markets are those states that are required by the government to get electricity from renewable sources. Presently, there are 29 states that are under this market; an example of this market is the state of California which is required by law to get 33% energy from renewable sources by 2020. The Canadian market and UK market are also implementing this incentive program.
Other things that affect the price of the certificate depends on the condition of the source, what year was it built, the supply and demand and the type of energy creation.
The Clean Renewable Energy Bonds or CREBS is given in accordance with the Energy Tax Incentive Act of 2005 which authorized tax credit bonds in the amount of $800,000,000 to be used to fund certain projects of qualified applicants. It was further strengthened by a guide called the American Recovery and Reinvestment Tax Act of 2009 that explained the qualifications and opportunities tied to this tax bond.
There are strict requirements and standards to meet to be eligible for this tax bond. Basically, the first things that you need to check is if your project is one of the “qualified energy generation facility” in their list.
The qualified facilities mentioned in the act are wind facilities, open-loop biomass facilities, closed loop biomass facilities, geothermal or solar energy facilities, landfill gas facilities, small irrigation facilities, refined coal production facilities, hydropower facilities and trash combustion facilities.
Useful Information from Renewable Energy World
There are a lot of resource articles online that talk about renewable energy. Some focus on alternatives for energy and some highlight energy companies. There is one that is notably the best website and it offers all information from directories of magazine article, analysis on stock market investment related to renewable energy, current news, careers in the sustainable energy industry, industry related pictures, renewable energy policies, management tips, technology solutions and information and reviews about different products and services offered by different companies in the business like Plumbers in Townsville. This is the renewableenergyworld.com.
Different groups of people will be interested in this website because of the vast topics that can be found there. If you are an entrepreneur interested in investing or trading in a renewable energy company to add to your portfolio, this is also the best website to visit.
They publish information on many penny stocks of energy companies. Industries selling services for renewable energy companies can also be seen as well as a detailed explanation of what they offer. For job hunters, they also give out information on related jobs as well as statistics and salary information in this business.
The content of the website also gives further understanding on what the advantages and disadvantages are of different energy technologies. Students doing research for their science class projects are sure to find at least a page in the site full of new information and facts that they can use.
Renewable Energy World does not stop at providing education through their website; they also have paper magazines distributed in North America. The brand also holds the Renewable Energy World Conference & Expo in America, Europe, Asia and India.
This event is a fair that gathers marketing professionals, government agencies, sales people, renewable energy publicly traded companies’ representatives, industry consultants and consultancy firms, investments professionals and even students.
This event raises interests for the industry and urges finance and investment companies to consider putting their trust on its future by funding businesses and developers that deal with renewable energy.
Besides that, it also offers consulting sessions and training courses as well as discusses standard procedures in operating a renewable energy company by conducting a forum on their conferences.
National Renewable Energy Laboratory – What They Do
NREL or the National Renewable Energy Laboratory by definition is the nation’s premier lab for energy efficiency research and development of renewable energy and fuels. According to the office’s website, their mission and strategy are focused on advancing the US Department of Energy’s and the people’s warrants for alternative energy source.
To fulfill its mission of transferring innovations and knowledge about renewable energy resources, they hold different projects. Examples of programs that they are doing are the Wind for Schools Project, Tribal Energy Program and Wind Powering America.
They also help in the World Renewable Energy Congress held every year in Colorado as well as in other conferences off-shore and they collaborate with other agencies of other countries, such as Bengal’s West Bengal Renewable Energy Development Agency.
In their website, you can also find a lot of useful information about energy efficiency, alternative fuel, current investment banking related to renewable energy, composite data products, Distributed Energy Testing and Certification, Clean Energy Investors Directory and even compact duct systems.
People interested in these can check out Powerpoint presentations (ppt) to use as references for their reports or projects. All of this information can be found on their website all in an effort to publicly declare the advantages of using renewable energy.
All About Renewable Energy Jobs and Education
In this season, when almost all of the jobs are taken and people cannot really choose a career that will make their bank books fat, job seekers must consider looking at unconventional places to find work. Ask yourself, what types of job are needed and what jobs could still be able to sustain you in the future? The answer is renewable energy related jobs.
With the government prodding private companies and institutions to support and develop renewable energy source and product, it is no surprise that in the near future, jobs in this industry will be available left and right. In fact even today, related jobs are already plenty, the only thing is there are not enough people who could fit these jobs. The only solution in this issue is to get proper education and experience.
Presently, there are already colleges and universities offering college credits and some even offer MSc in Renewable Energy Technology. Some of the colleges that offer credits are Austin Community College (Texas), Boise State College, University of Colorado – Boulder, University of Florida, University of Houston, Northwestern Michigan College, Oregon Institue Technology, St. Francis University,Pennsylvania College of Technology, Prairie State College, Green Mountain College (Vermont), Lake Washington Technical College, Virginia Tech (VA) and Golden West College. Internationally, Glasgow University in the UK also offers certificate in renewable energy.
For those interested in getting a Masters in Science in Renewable Energy, you can check Ohio’s University of Dayton and University of Chicago Graduate School of Business. These schools may even offer you a scholarship grant according to their websites.
Studying again may not be an inviting idea as it will take time and possibly nights spent burning the midnight oil. However, investing time and effort into this further study can help you reap the benefits once you graduate and follow a career path that leads into the future.
You may also try applying at companies even without such diploma or certificate, just bring along your experience and confidence and, who knows, you may land that high paying job that can lift you out of an impending bankruptcy.
According to Simply Hired’s website, a renewable energy loan consultant has an average salary of $49,000; a controller and installer can earn as much as $76,000; a purchase manager earns about $62,000; and people who work in laboratories as Sr. Project managers can earn as high as $92,000. These are not bad figures, right?
Some companies that are well-known globally and are supporting renewable energy advocates are Aventine Renewable Energy Inc., California Center For Sustainable Energy in San Diego, Exergy, Google, Hybrid Renewable Energy Systems, Renewable Energy Holdings, EIA Energy Kids, Keystone Renewable Energy LLC, Seawind Renewable Energy Corporation, Sol Systems, Southwest Windpower and USDA or US Department Agriculture.
These companies may be able to give you jobs in which you can experience working on sustainable and alternative energy sources as they strongly support renewable energy programs and their products and services are also focused on this industry. Submitting your resume to any one of them will not hurt.
Renewable Energy vs Non Renewable Energy
According to an article by Professor John Twidell, renewable energy can be defined as “energy supplied from the natural and persistent flows of energy in the immediate environment”. If we keep this in consideration, we can answer how is renewable better than non-renewable energy.
Since renewable energy is already coming from the environment, it does not mean harm whereas non-renewable sources pollute since those are artificial and unknown to our atmosphere. Aside from that, the other pros of renewable energy are cheaper prices, Earth-friendliness and the credits you get from the government because of supporting their policy on using renewable sources of energy.
Non-renewable energy sources on the other hand, such as nuclear energy hurts the environment, because the nuclear breeder reactors may release chemicals into the atmosphere. Coals, as well, cause too much air pollution not to mention that they are much more expensive than ‘recycling’ energy from renewable sources.
Today, as the ozone layer is thinning and the atmosphere is becoming even more polluted, choosing clean and green energy to help salvage our planet’s health is becoming a must. To help save the environment, everyone, the government, companies and individuals should be thinking of changing their electricity source.
Renewable energy sources are the most feasible and Earth-friendly choice. In Al Gore’s ‘Repower America’ he said something that we need to do, make renewable energy the dominant source of energy and not an alternative.