Things to Know About Renewable Energy
Renewable energy is a type that’s derived through natural processes, such as wind and sunlight. The energy is replenished faster than they are consumed, thus, the term “renewable”. Some types of renewable energy are wind, solar, geothermal, biomass and hydro. Here’s a comprehensive article about the topic, including all the important things you need to know about it.
What is Renewable Energy?
As mentioned, it is that type of energy that’s generated out of natural resources, like rain, tides, wind, sunlight, as well as geothermal heat. As you see, all these are renewable, which means that they can be replenished naturally. The technologies used range from wind power, solar power, biomass, hydroelectricity/micro hydro, as well as biofuels for transportation. Since it is renewable, the energy cannot be exhausted at all. Instead, it is constantly being replenished.
Alternative energy is another term used for this energy source, which is an alternative to using the fossil fuels. In general, it refers to the energies that are not traditional and usually have less impact to the environment. The term “alternative” is often used to contrast with the fossil fuels, depending on some sources. By most definitions, the alternative energy will not harm the environment in any way, which is what separates it from the renewable energy that might or might not have a significant impact to the environment.
Each source of energy comes with its own unique advantages and costs. Below are some of the benefits associated with using these technologies.
- Minimize global warming emissions – human activities tend to overload our atmosphere with plenty of carbon dioxide, including global warming emissions that will trap heat and steadily drive the planet’s temperature up and result in a significant and harmful impact to our environment, our health and the climate. Production of electricity accounts for more than a third of the overall global warming emissions in the US, where the majority is often generated through coal fired power plants that produce almost 25 percent of the overall global warming emissions. Moreover, the gas-fired power plants are said to produce about 6 percent of the overall emissions. But with renewable sources, the global warming emissions will be greatly reduced.
- Improved public health and increase the quality of the environment – producing electricity out of renewable resources instead of fuel fuels will offer significant health benefits for the public. Both the water and air pollution that’s emitted by the natural gas and coal has been linked to breathing illnesses, cancer, heart attacks and even neurological damage. Replacing the fossil fuels with renewable sources has been shown to reduce the number of premature mortality as well as lost workdays, while also reducing the overall cost of healthcare. Solar, wind, as well as hydroelectric systems produce electricity without the necessary air pollution. And although the biomass and geothermal energy systems emit air pollutants, the overall air emissions are normally lower as compared to the coal and gas powered plants.
- Enjoy a massive and inexhaustible supply of energy – all over the US, sunny skies, strong winds, plant residues, fast moving water, as well as heat from the earth, can all provide a massive and constantly renewable source. These diverse renewable sources of energy have the technical potential to provide electricity many times more than what the nation needs.
- Jobs and other economic benefits – unlike the fuel technologies, which are normally mechanized and are often capital intensive, the industry of renewable energy is more labor intensive. What this means is that in an average, more jobs are generated for every unit of electricity that’s generated from the renewable sources than from the fossil fuels. The renewable energy has in fact provided support to thousands of jobs all over the United States. For instance, in the year 2011, the industry of wind energy has directly employed 75,000 full time employees in various capacities and this includes project development, manufacturing, turbine installation, construction and many more. In fact, there’s been more than 500 factories in the United States that are said to be manufacturing parts that are needed to run wind turbines.
- Stable prices of energy – renewable energy has been providing affordable electricity all over the country these days and this can help to stabilize the cost in the future. The overall cost of the technologies used for renewable energy has declined rapidly and it’s expected to drop even more. For instance, the average cost of the solar panel has declined to almost 60 percent in the year 2011. And although renewable facilities will require a huge upfront investment, as soon as they are built and once they begin operating, it will be at a very low cost and for most technologies, the fuel is normally free. Thus, the renewable energy prices will be relatively stable as time goes by.
- More resilient and reliable energy system – both solar and wind are less prone to a large-scale failure since they are often distributed and are modular. The distributed systems are usually spread out into a large geographical location and thus, a severe weather event happening in one location will not cut the power off in the entire region.
The modular systems are usually made out of various individual wind turbines. Even if the equipment is damaged, the rest can still operate continuously. There is also a great chance that disruptive events will also increase in the future, as heat waves, droughts and more intense storms will become more frequent as a result of the global warming. Renewable sources are therefore more resilient than natural gas, coal, as well as nuclear power plants in the midst of all these extreme weather occurrences.
As you may already know, renewable energy is that kind of energy that’s derived through natural process, like wind and sunlight. The energy is being replenished faster than when they are consumed, thus, the term “renewable”. This type has been around for quite awhile now, but they are only picking up recently for the world has already found itself in a place where it no longer has a choice but to embrace the renewable technology. Below are 10 facts that highlight its efficiency, effectiveness and growth.
- Renewable energy produces three times more jobs compared to energy produced by fossil fuels.
- The fossil fuels receive four times the subsidy of the renewables.
- The renewable energy is said to increase up to 25 percent of the overall global gross power generation during the year 2018, which will be equivalent to 20 percent in 2011 as well as 19 percent during the year 2006.
- Only one wind turbine is capable of generating enough electricity in order to power up more than 1,400 households.
- In only a five-year period, the electric grid of Portugal has jumped from 15 to 45 percent of the overall renewables.
- If taken advantage to the fullest, the sunlight that will beam on earth for an hour would be enough to meet the overall energy demand for the whole year.
- North Africa and Europe could operate in a 100 percent renewable energy by the year 2050.
- Since 2014, China has been building up to two wind turbines every day.
- Solar power accounts for the world’s main source of energy by the year 2050.
- 20 percent of the overall population in the UK lives in areas that are well suitable for the Geothermal District Heating that makes use of heat pumps.
Nuclear power is currently considered a sustainable source of energy, however, it could become totally renewable if the source of uranium will be changed from being a mined ore into seawater. Because the Uranium extracted is replenished continuously by means of a geologic process, the nuclear power will turn out to be as endless as the solar.
But does sustainable and renewable mean the same thing in the world of energy? According to experts, not everything that is renewable is actually sustainable. On the other hand, not everything that’s sustainable is renewable.
The term “renewable” means to produce new again. Any resource that will naturally replenish as time goes by, such as the creation of wind or growth of some biological organisms for biofuels or biomass is considered renewable. Basically, renewable energy refers to the energy that humans will extract from nature will replace by itself.
Alternately, a sustainable source of energy can be maintained for a certain period of time, one whose overall amount could last until forever, and at the rate that it’s being used. It might or might not be renewed.
Energy sources are considered as non-renewable if they will take a really long time to be produced, just like fossil fuels, or if their creation has happened long time ago and will not likely to happen again, such as the uranium.
There are lots of benefits that come with using geothermal energy as a renewable source of energy. First, it is clean and can be extracted without the need to burn a fossil fuel unlike gas, oil or coal. The geothermal fields are producing only about a sixth of the total carbon dioxide, that a clean natural gas power plant will produce and very little of the nitrous oxide or the sulfur bearing gases. In addition, geothermal energy is accessible 24 hours a day all year round. The geothermal power plants have an average availability of 90 percent, compared to almost 75 percent for the coal plants.
So you might ask why the geothermal energy is considered a renewable resource. The reason for this is because the source is almost an unlimited amount of heat that’s generated from the Earth’s core. Even on the geothermal areas that are dependent in a reservoir of hot water, the volume that’s taken out can be possibly re-injected, which makes it a highly sustainable source of energy.
Hydroelectric is a power source that’s considered clean and renewable and will not pollute the air since no fuels are being burned in its generation. Moreover, it is considered renewable since it makes use of the Earth’s water cycle in producing electricity. With this, you would think that the hydropower will get as much attention and investment as some of the non-carbon sources. However, in general, hydropower is not actually considered a renewable source in most states and by the federal government as well. Thus, a lot of people are wondering, is hydroelectric renewable or not?
Hydropower is actually more than a hundred years old already. The first dam that uses the hydraulic reaction turbines in order to produce electricity was in Fox River in Wisconsin and that was in the year 1882. It was considered revolutionary during that time and the results are truly impressive that it resulted to a dam-building spree. From the year 1905 up until the 1930s, a lot of large and iconic dams, including the famous Roosevelt dams and Hoover dams, were built. At this time, almost 40 percent of the electricity of the country is from the hydropower.
There are various types of hydroelectric power facilities these days, and all are powered by the kinetic energy of the flowing water while it moves downstream. However, some people will not consider all of them as renewable. According to some experts, the hydroelectric power comes with significant environmental baggage. Thus, the reluctance of other people to consider hydropower, as a renewable energy is based on its impact on the dams of fisheries as well as water flows.
Of all the elements found in the universe, hydrogen is often considered as the most abundant. The hydrogen gas is known for its remarkable characteristics, such as being tasteless, colorless and invisible. Furthermore, it can be transformed into a renewable and nonpolluting energy resource with zero emission.
The British scientist Henry Cavendish has discovered the hydrogen energy. He initially identified it as a distinct element right after he developed the hydrogen gas by subjecting the zinc metal into hydrochloric acid. He made another remarkable discovery when he introduced a spark to the hydrogen gas, which produces water during the process. Such historic development has led to the conclusion that water is made of hydrogen and oxygen. Since then, the hydrogen technology has grown increasingly, and today, it is being used as a source of energy for electric systems cars and even in the production of pure water.
Hydrogen is considered the most abundant and the simplest element in the entire universe. It occurs naturally and although it exists in pretty much anywhere, such as in the space, air and ground, it is rarely alone. It can be obtained through a combination of some other elements like water.
The chemistry behind hydrogen is very easy – it is a single atom that’s made of a proton and an electron. In gaseous form, hydrogen can be burned like a fuel and can be stored on power cells in order to produce explosive energy that propels spaceships and rockets. It is combustible and volatile and a truly powerful element.
Biomass is a renewable source of energy that’s often derived from organic matter like crop waste, wood or garbage that makes up 4.8 percent of the overall energy consumption in the US and about 12 percent of the overall renewable energy in the US. Wood is often the largest biomass source. In the United States, there are currently 227 biomass plants that are operating. In the United Kingdom, 35 percent of these are operating while another 15 are still under construction. But a lot of people are wondering just how renewable the biomass is.
There are various ways to produce energy out of biomass, and this includes burning biomass in order to generate heat or run steam turbines that will produce electricity. Other ways are turning feedstock to liquid biofuels and then harvesting gas from anaerobic digesters and landfills. Biomass can consist of wood gathered from forests as well as logging residues and sawdust from construction, lumber mills and organic municipal waste.
Biomass can be considered a renewable energy since its inherent energy comes from the sun and also because it could regrow in only a short period of time. Trees will take in carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and will convert it to biomass. When they die, it gets released back to the atmosphere. Whether the trees are burned or decompose naturally, they will end up releasing the same amount of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.
The sun is perhaps the most important source of renewable energy that’s available today. Generally, the sun is capable of providing energy for almost all living creatures in the earth, by means of photosynthesis, where plants get to absorb solar radiation and then convert it to stored energy to be used for growth and development. Engineers and scientists today are seeking to use solar radiation by converting it directly into useful electricity or heat.The sun is perhaps the most important source of renewable energy that's available today. Click To Tweet
The main advantage of using solar is that it is clean and is capable of operating independently or along with traditional sources. Moreover, solar is remarkably renewable. The biggest disadvantage is that it is often more expensive as compared to the traditional energy and its availability will vary depending on the day and the season. As a matter of fact, those areas in Pennsylvania that are the cloudiest spots still have the opportunity to use solar as a source of energy.
Tidal energy is produced through the surge of the ocean waters, which happens during the rise and fall of the tides. Tidal is considered a renewable source because the tidal waves are produced by means of the gravitational forces in between the earth and the moon. Thus, no matter how much of the tidal wave you will use, it will always be available for as long as the moon will stay where it is.
Tidal energy production is actually still in its infancy stage. The amount of energy that it produces so far is still small. There have been quite a few commercial sized tidal power plants that are operating in the world recently. The first of which is in France while the largest facility is located in South Korea. The United States does not have any tidal plant as of yet and there are only a few sites where tidal can be produced at a reasonable cost.
One wind turbine is already enough to generate power for household use. Since wind is considered a source of energy, which is renewable and non-polluting, wind turbines are capable of creating power without the need to use fossil fuels and without producing radioactive waste, greenhouse gases or toxic waste.
Wind is actually a form of solar energy. Since solar nergy is considered renewable, hence, the wind is also considered renewable. Winds are triggered by the uneven heating of the sun to the atmosphere, the rotation of the earth and the irregularities of the surface of the earth, As such, wind flow patterns are often modified through the earth’s terrain, vegetative cover and bodies of water. This flow of the wind or motion, once harvested through wind turbines can be used in generating electricity.
The terms wind power or wind energy refers to the process in which the wind is used in generating electricity or mechanical power. Wind turbines will usually convert the kinetic energy of the wind to the mechanical power. Such power can then be used for specific tasks like pumping water or grinding grain, and a generator can convert such power to electricity that will then be used to power schools, businesses, homes, etc.
What Is Non-Renewable Energy?
Energy freely exists in nature. Some of these exist infinitely, which means that they will never run out, and as such, they are known as renewable. The rest usually have finite amounts and will take several million years to form and could run out someday, and this is called the non-renewable energy.
Non-renewable is the type that’s derived from fossil fuels, such as crude oil, coal, natural gas and uranium. The fossil fuels are made with carbon mainly and it’s believed that the fossil fuels have been formed more than 300 million years ago when the earth was so much different in terms of landscape. At that time, the earth has swampy forests and shallow seas. This period is known as the Carboniferous Period. The fossil fuels are often found at one location and the processes in which they are formed are pretty similar.
The best thing about fossil fuels is that, unlike most renewable sources, they are relatively less expensive to make. This is mainly the reason why it is often in high demand since it costs less. The bad thing about it is that it is made of carbon mainly and once they are burned, they will end up producing several carbon compounds that could hurt the environment in various ways. Water, air and land pollution are all the consequences of the use of fossil fuels.
Types of Non-renewables
There are mainly two categories on which the non-renewable resources would fall, and these are the fossil fuels and the uranium, also known as radioactive minerals. But within the fossil fuel category, the energy is produced by means of burning some petroleum products, like coal, natural gas and oil. Uranium on the other hand, is used on nuclear fission in order to fuel up nuclear power plants. None of these sources can be quickly replenished in order to provide for enough fuel in the ever-increasing need of power all over the world. To help, you can also check out how to use less electricity to minimize your own carbon footprint.
- Petroleum products – these are considered the main source of fuel and this group of product includes gasoline, oil, diesel fuel as well as propane. In this group, only the oil is considered to occur naturally in a liquefied form since propane is a gas and tends to get liquefied during its processing.
- Coal – although coal is not being used in concentrations that it was in the past years, it is still considered the most copious fossil fuel produced in the United States. Coal is a type of combustible sedimentary rock that will take millions of years to be produced out of decaying plants. It is mainly composed of hydrocarbons and carbons and although there is enough supply currently, it will eventually get exhausted.
- Natural gas – a lot of people are aware of the fact that natural gas is mainly made of methane, which resulted from the decaying animals and plants several million years ago. Over time, the earth will build up around such decaying organic matter and trap the gasses in between layers of the rock and earth.
- Uranium – contrary to what a lot of people thought, the uranium that is being used in the nuclear power plants is actually not in endless supply. Although the uranium itself can be found commonly in rocks all over the world, it is somewhat rare and should be processed first prior to being used to provide fuel for the nuclear power plants. It’s unfortunate to know that a lot of people thought that nuclear power is a renewable energy, when it is in fact fueled by one of the Earth’s non-renewable resources.
Non-renewable Energy Pros and Cons
As mentioned, non-renewable energy resources are those that cannot sustain their rate of consumption. In other words, it is a non-sustainable energy since its reserves will eventually be emptied if we continue using them.
There are a couple of advantages that come with using non-renewable sources. First of all, there is good availability of fossil fuels and coal. Moreover, the technology that’s used to harness these sources is also highly developed. These two factors, along with others, are what make non-renewable energy to be cost competitive as they are in this day and age. The transition to civilization that is powered by renewable energy will require the need for major changes in the manner in which we use this.
On the other hand, the main disadvantage of the non-renewable sources is that it is not renewable. These sources will eventually run out and could lead to disastrous consequences once they are fully exhausted. Another disadvantage is that using these sources will release carbon dioxide as well as climate gasses in large quantities. This will make climate crisis to get worse rapidly. Thus, it is clear to see why non-renewable sources must be replaced with renewable alternatives.
Fossil Fuels Vs. Renewable Energy
The current generation of power and its distribution often operates around the use of fossil fuels for centuries now. Fossil fuels are essentially a portable type of energy. A company could easily store and transport the energy until the time comes that it is ready for use, whether the coal for a coal plant or fuel oil for furnace. This ease of storage as well as transportation means that the fuel could be excavated possibly where it lies and processed in separate location before it gets transported to wherever you want the power to be.
One of the main weaknesses of fossil fuel is their chemical makeup. As the operations will burn the fuel, they will end up releasing hydrocarbons that will mix with the atmosphere and then produce greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide and sulfur dioxide that are both considered pollution. The cost of pollution control can sap up the revenue and in addition, removing the fossil fuels can prove to be detrimental and even disastrous for the environment, from oil spills to strip mining operations.
As for the renewable energy, its biggest strength is its source of production, where the sun and gravitational pull will yield, wind and solar, as well as wave energy. Even the debris from the landscaping such as grass clippings and branches are capable of producing energy from biomass processes that will mimic the natural process of decomposition. Several businesses could tap into these sources using a solar panel, water turbine or windmill.
Renewable sources replicate or harness the nature’s processes in terms of its production, thus, it also comes with its own share of weaknesses. Solar panels and windmills take up huge tracts of space in collecting energy, since energy is diluted right across the environment. Secondly, the renewable energy shares vagaries of natures, through flows and ebbs. If the wind will die down or that the sky clouds are over, then the production of energy will also weaken. Thus, it will require storage in order to contain the energy between the production and consumption most especially if you are transferring from rural areas to the more urban setting.
Cost of Renewable Energy Versus Fossil Fuels
Renewable energy comes with its own share of pros and cons. It also comes with limitations, such as the difficulty of producing the quantity of energy equivalent to the energy produced by the fossil fuels technology. Moreover, the technology that is required to trap the renewable tends to be costly. For instance, setting of the dams will require high initial capital, both for the construction and maintenance. Moreover, most of the renewable sources are usually affected by weather, which also reduces their efficiency and reliability.
Non-renewable sources, such as the fossil fuels, have continuously produced constant energy all throughout the whole world. This is because of their high availability. Sources of the non-renewables can also be attributed to natural sources, which are not being regenerated as soon as the sources have been depleted. Sources will also include fossil fuels like petroleum products and coal, for instance, diesels and natural gas.
Most of the non-renewable sources such as the fossil fuels can be easily transported from one place to another. For instance, the petroleum oils can be possibly transported through pipes. Thus, the cost of producing fossil fuels is low because they are available naturally. Moreover, they are not too expensive to transform from one energy form to another. Most of the non-renewable sources are in abundant in various areas all over the world, and unlike the renewables, their availability is not usually affected by the climatic condition.
Why Is It Important For the Future?
These days, renewable energy provides only a small fraction of its potential electricity output not only in the United States, but all over the world as well. However, numerous studies have shown that renewable can be rapidly deployed in order to provide for a significant share for the electricity needs in the future, even after any potential constraints are accounted for.
- Jobs and other economic benefits – unlike with the fossil fuel, which are normally mechanized and capital intensive, the industry of renewable energy is more labor-intensive. What this means is that, in an average, more jobs are often created for each unit of the electricity that’s generated from the renewable sources than from the fossil fuels. Thus, renewable energy projects help to keep money circulating within the local community and in most states, the production of renewable electricity will reduce the need to spend money on important natural gas and coal from other places.
- Stable cost – renewable energy is providing for affordable electricity across the country these days, and could help in stabilizing the cost of energy in the future. The cost of these technologies has steadily declined and is expected to drop even more. Although renewable facilities will require high upfront cost of investment to build, but once it is built, they could operate at a very low cost. And for most technologies, fuel is normally free. Thus, the cost will become relatively stable in the future.
- More resilient and reliable energy system – both wind and solar energy are less prone to large-scale failure since they are often modular and are distributed. Distributed systems are usually spread out in a large geographical area, thus, a severe weather event in a certain location may not cut off the power of the entire region. The modular energy systems are primarily composed of numerous solar arrays or individual wind turbines.
Future of Renewable Energy
A study done on the future of renewable energy has found that it is possible to make use of almost 80 percent renewables given the current available technologies, including hydropower, solar photovoltaic, concentrating solar power, wind turbines, hydropower, geothermal and more. The study has also demonstrated that a high renewable energy scenario is well capable of meeting the electricity demand all over the country for every hour each day, all year round.
Variable resources like the wind and solar power is capable of providing almost half of the overall electricity use in the US, and the remaining 30 percent can be obtained from renewable sources. Increasing the renewables to provide for almost 80 percent of US electricity, will not, however, limit the energy choices to only one specific pathway. Instead, study shows that a wide range of renewable energy scenarios could provide the nation with various pathways in order to achieve its goal.
Renewable energy technologies actually have a great potential in the US and such potential can be possibly achieved at a reasonable cost. Market research has shown that a lot of customers are happy to pay for renewable energy even if it will cost more than what a conventional power would cost. However, economic theories also lead to significant market barriers as well as market failures that could prevent the development of these renewables, unless some special policy measures will be enacted in order to encourage such development.
- Commercialization barriers – in order to contend against fossil fuel as well as nuclear technologies, the renewables should first overcome two of the major barriers to commercialization – lack of economies of scale and undeveloped infrastructure.
- Infrastructure – coming up with new renewable resources will need huge financial investments, which will go to building the infrastructure. All these investments could increase the cost of providing renewable electricity, especially at the early years.
- Economies of sale – most of the renewable energy technologies are being manufactured on assembly lines since mass production can greatly reduce the costs. As of 1990, the cost of manufacturing photovoltaic has declined to about 25 percent for every doubling of the production volume. The economies scale will also most likely lead to the reduction of cost for the fuel cell, wind and biomass technology. Unfortunately, for as long as relatively few units will be produced, prices will remain high. This will lead to the decrease of demand and also decrease of production volumes.
Why Don’t We Use It More Than We Do?
If the conventional methods used in creating electricity are known for being the reason behind the hazardous air pollutants, then the best option is to go for renewable sources. But why don’t we use more renewable energy?
- Inertia – first of all, the entire industry of energy production is just massive. This means that there are lots of powerful people who make a living out of the way things are done but will be financially devastated in case of any drastic changes made. This could apply to those involved in the shipping, mining, transport, pumping and the refinement of fossil fuels and coal. Add to this are the various employees and industries that produce equipment used for energy production, including the various other businesses that depend solely on the current method of producing power.
- Expense – with the alternative energy still considered a relatively new idea, it still has yet to be made as cost-effective as that of the existing conventional methods of production of power. Before any of the widespread changes are implemented, substantial research is necessary. Even for testing the technology used in capturing the solar power, its cost of maintenance and production is a less attractive as compared to the conventional method of coal burning. Moreover, with the increasing demand of electricity each day, governments are forced to go for the less expensive options even if they are a more harmful method of producing energy.
- No pressing need – sure, the danger to the environment that’s presented through global warming is truly a dire one, however, for most people, it is not really an important issue. Besides, even though the polar ice is already shrinking while the temperature is increasing, most people can still go on about their daily lives as though nothing is going on in the environment. Climate change problem is just too big. Sure, we might want to help, however, we have other concerns that we need to attend ourselves first.
Whether you are interested in a career on solar technology, wind energy or another sector of renewable energy, there are various organizations that you can be involved in and here are some of them.
- AWEA or American Wind Energy Association – the national trade association of the wind industry in the US, and are focused on conducting research and doing advocacy work concerning the issues and policies within the industry.
- Wind Energy Foundation – a non-profit organization that brings awareness on the benefits of using wind energy. They focus on education, research and promotional campaigns aimed at informing the general public the media and the decision makers.
- WOWE or Women of Wind Energy – an organization whose aim is to promote education, professional development as well as advancement of women on renewable energy.
- Solar Energy Industries Association – this is the national trade association of the US solar industry and works along with member companies in order to push for the use of solar power through education and advocacies.
- EEBC or the Energy Efficiency Business Coalition – the organization is the main source of influence, information and interconnection for businesses involved in the efficient services and technologies.
What is the Best Renewable Energy Source?
All of the renewable sources are actually being cursed with some fundamental problems that make their future to be standalone. With respect to the generation of electricity, the major renewables, both solar and wind are both diffuse and intermittent. These obstacles are inherent to the source that might be difficult to surmount.
For instance, in Texas, when the weather becomes too hot and the demand for electricity will increase, the wind will stop blowing. Given the fact that we need energy generation most when it is hot, then this can be a serious deficiency. Solar has a greater potential, given the innovation plans that can help to improve the solar panels’ efficiency and minimize the cost of producing them.
In addition, the revolution on natural gas has undermined the economics of the renewable technologies. Those countries that have been aggressive in their desire of having solar and wind have realized that their aspirations have greatly outpaced the technology. For instance, both Spain and Germany have announced that they will substantially curtail their support of solar and wind.
It is not that easy to wade through the developing industry searching for the right career in the renewable industry. So to help simplify the process, here are some of the most in demand professions in the industry of renewable energy.
- Engineer – there are several branches of engineering, but in the industry of renewable energy, the engineering professional usually leans more in the electrical, environmental and mechanical end of the spectrum. This is especially true in terms of research and development. Engineering has also played a critical role in the implementation of new technology, which is an important component in the field of renewables.
- Farmer – farmers these days are not only growing food for the table. Bioenergy is a fast expanding sector of the renewable industry, and those who are looking for a career that provides modern green power may want to consider this kind of profession to make a living. Corn ethanol already has a strong presence in the fuel supply industry and is added to most of the gasoline that you get at the pump in generous amounts.
- Solar Fabricator/Installer – solar is not the biggest or the cheapest form of renewable energy. It is not really up to utility scale, however, it is definitely on its way. With the increasing success in making solar power as a storage energy source, eventually, our lights will now be sun powered whether we got photovoltaic panels installed or not.
- Wind-farm developer – in an industry that is growing at an increasing peak, the opportunities are certainly endless. Wind farms, which are the huge sprawling turbines that spot wide-open and high wind areas around the world, are continuously popping up in an increasing number, which sends a megawatt of a relatively clean power into the grid.
So if you have the talent to be able to put together all these projects from the ground up, then you will surely find a tremendous opportunity in the increasing renewable energy market of today. Your main role is to secure the land and acquire legal permissions, while also facing anti-farm lawsuits as well as government regulations. Sure, these are not an easy task, but if you have the drive to get things done, then wind farm development is sure an easy moneymaker.
- Wind turbine operator, fabricator and installer – the technical aspects involved in the wind power, including the fabrication and maintenance, are a growing field. Just like solar, hands-on wind energy jobs have an increasing range of pay scales, depending upon the specialty and experience of the individual. Moreover, they tend to bring about the type of money that’s highly associated with the skilled construction jobs.
Why We Need It
The world should seriously consider the transition to a hundred percent renewable energy and must take place in about a century simply because fossil fuels are becoming rare and are getting expensive to burn. Furthermore, scientists have warned that if the transition will not happen much faster, there is a high risk that we will reach a tipping point where feedback loops will take over and lead to the catastrophic increase of global temperature.
The melting of the Arctic sea is fast taking place and is happening way faster than it was predicted. Moreover, experts have pointed out that the observed melting is so rapid that in less than five years, the Arctic will be free from sea ice at the end of the summer. This will, of course, continue to re-freeze again in the winters, however the thickness as well as the extent of the winter ice could diminish.
It’s also been observed that the Greenland ice cap as well as the ice shelves in the Antarctic is melting more rapidly than it has been predicted. Complete melting of the Antarctic sea ice and the Greenland ice cap could increase the c levels by up to 14 meters. It can be difficult to predict on how fast this could take place, however, this could certainly happen within the next 1 to 3 centuries.
What is most worrying however is the threat that without any all out effort from the developed and developing nations to curb the release of greenhouse gases immediately, the climate change could reach a tipping point where the feedback loops will take over and where it will end up to be beyond the power of any human ability to stop the accelerating global warming.
The most dangerous of the feedback loops will involve methane hydrates. If the organic matter will be carried to the oceans through rivers, it will decay the formation of the methane. It will then combine with water in order to produce hydrate crystals, that are stable at temperatures and pressures that currently exist at the ocean floors. However, if the temperature will increase, the crystals will become unstable and the methane gas will bubble up into the surface. Methane is a type of greenhouse gas that is more potent compared to carbon dioxide.
But using renewable energy is not the only thing you can do. You can also take a look at these great ways to reduce the environmental impact you have on the earth.
How Much Would It Cost To Switch?
We live in a time that’s marked by the increasing emissions, looming threats of climate catastrophe as well as melting ice caps. Luckily, there are thousands of brilliant solutions that can address all these pressing issues. But how much will it actually cost to switch to renewable energy? Refer below.
- The cost to produce coal or peat is around £60 billion.
- The cost to produce natural gas is around £172 billion.
- The cost to produce electricity is around £514 billion.
- The cost to produce oil is around £468 billion.
As you see, the overall cost to produce non-renewable energy is enormous. In a certain year, humans are said to spend about £1.22 trillion just to fuel the planet. This is equivalent to one percent of the gross domestic product of the whole world.
There have been increasing focus on the green scholarships as politicians, celebrities and several highly vocal movement and organizations have supported these causes. Documentaries about these have been increasingly popular and thus, more and more people are becoming aware of the various environmental issues than ever before. Scholarships are reflecting in this trend as various providers are giving green scholarships to several environmentally conscious students.
If you are thinking of starting a career in the eco-oriented field, then winning a green scholarship is definitely the best way to start. Here is a list of some green scholarships that you may want to check out.