Renewable energy

Renewable energy is energy which comes from natural resources such as sunlight, wind, rain, tides, and geothermal heat, which are renewable (naturally replenished). About 16% of global final energy consumption comes from renewables, with 10% coming from traditional biomass, which is mainly used for heating, and 3.4% from hydroelectricity.  New renewables (small hydro, modern biomass, wind, solar, geothermal, and biofuels) accounted for another 2.8% and are growing very rapidly. The share of renewables in electricity generation is around 19%, with 16% of global electricity coming from hydroelectricity and 3% from new renewables.

Wind power is growing at the rate of 30% annually, with a worldwide installed capacity of 198 gigawatts (GW) in 2010, and is widely used in Europe, Asia, and the United States. At the end of 2010, cumulative global photovoltaic (PV) installations surpassed 40 GW and PV power stations are popular in Germany and Spain. Solar thermal power stations operate in the USA and Spain, and the largest of these is the 354 megawatt (MW) SEGS power plant in the Mojave Desert. The world’s largest geothermal power installation is the Geysers in California, with a rated capacity of 750 MW. Brazil has one of the largest renewable energy programs in the world, involving production of ethanol fuel from sugar cane, and ethanol now provides 18% of the country’s automotive fuel. Ethanol fuel is also widely available in the USA.

While many renewable energy projects are large-scale, renewable technologies are also suited to rural and remote areas, where energy is often crucial in human development. As of 2011, small solar PV systems provide electricity to a few million households, and micro-hydro configured into mini-grids serves many more. Over 44 million households use biogas made in household-scale digesters for lighting and/or cooking, and more than 166 million households rely on a new generation of more-efficient biomass cookstoves. United Nations’ Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has said that renewable energy has the ability to lift the poorest nations to new levels of prosperity.

Courtesy: Wikipedia

Investors regularly travel to the United States to monitor and assess developments in renewable energy. It is recommended that overseas visitors and scientists to the United States shop for flight tickets online compare quotes offered by Visitor Guard USA insurance coverage or simply enroll on the Atlas Insurance for Visitors.

You can find out more about renewable energy in the United States by visiting the US Department of Energy, and there are statistics and information available on the National Atlas page.

List of Renewable Energy Companies

  • Yingli Green Energy Holding Co, LTD
  • Windflow Technology, LTD
  • Western Wind Energy Corp.
  • WaterFurnace Renewable Energy, Inc.
  • Vestas Wind Systems, AS
  • Verenium Corporation
  • Trina Solar, LTD
  • Tiger Renewable Energy, LTD
  • Suzlon Energy
  • Suzhou Shenglong PV-Tech Co.Ltd
  • Suntech Power
  • SunPower Corporation
  • Solco, LTD
  • SolarWorld, AG
  • Solarfun Power Holdings Co, LTD
  • Solar-Fabrik, AG
  • Sinovel
  • Shear Wind Inc..
  • S.A.G. Solarstrom, AG
  • Run of River Power Inc.
  • REpower Systems, AG
  • Renewagy, AS
  • Renewable Energy Resources, INC
  • Renewable Energy Holdings, PLC
  • Renewable Energy Generation, LTD
  • Renewable Energy Corporation, ASA
  • ReneSola, LTD
  • Ram Power, Corp.
  • Q-Cells, AG
  • PV Crystalox Solar, PLC
  • Phoenix Solar, AG
  • Nordex, AG
  • Nevada Geothermal Power, INC
  • Neo Solar Power Corporation
  • Motech Industries Inc.
  • Mass Megawatts Wind Power
  • Longyuan Power
  • LDK Solar Co, LTD
  • Kedco PLC
  • Jetion Solar Holdings LTD
  • JA Solar Holdings Co, LTD
  • Innergex Renewable Energy Inc.
  • Iberdrola Renovables, SA
  • GT Solar International, INC
  • Green Plains Renewable Energy, INC
  • Green Energy Holding Corporation
  • Good Energy Group, PLC
  • Goldwind
  • Gintech Energy Corporation
  • Gamesa Corporación Tecnológica
  • First Solar Holding, LLC
  • First American Scientific Corp.
  • Finavera Renewables, INC
  • Evergreen Solar, INC
  • EnviroMission, LTD
  • Enlight Renewable Energy Ltd.
  • Energy Conversion Devices, INC
  • Enbridge, INC
  • EDP Renováveis, SA
  • Eaga, PLC
  • E-ton Solar Technology Co, LTD
  • Dyesol, LTD
  • Dongfang Electric
  • DelSolar Co, LTD
  • DayStar Technologies, INC
  • Conergy, AG
  • Comtec Solar Systems Group Limited
  • Clipper Windpower, PLC
  • Clenergen Corporation,
  • China Sunergy Co, LTD
  • China Power New Energy
  • Ceramic Fuel Cells, LTD
  • Centrosolar Group, AG
  • Canadian Solar, INC
  • Ballard Power Systems
  • Aventine Renewable Energy
  • Ascent Solar Technologies, INC
  • Applied Solar, INC
  • Anwell Technologies
  • Americas Wind Energy Corporation
  • Alternative Energy, LTD
  • Aleo solar
  • Abengoa, SA

Exploring Renewable Energy Resources

Fossil fuels, being a finite resource are running low on our planet. The consumption and thirst for gas, oil and coal have been so great since the Industrial Revolution, that they have become more and more difficult to sustain their productivity.
Therefore, other means of energy sources have to be found. The added problem with fossil fuels is that they create pollution and greenhouse gases that impact massively on global warming. Fortunately, there are safer and more environmentally friendly alternatives to burning fossil fuels. Explained here are a few of the most popular renewable energy sources that could one day replace coal, oil and gas.
Solar energy is possibly the number one contender for providing our energy once fossil fuels have run out. It has great versatility, and ultimately could be used to run entire households alone. It can generate electricity and provide central and water heating, as well as providing lighting. It is also safe and completely natural. The technology that contributes to solar power is constantly progressing. Making it cheaper is key, as is how best to store the energy when the sunshine is diminished. Solar panels are already seen on a lot of properties and this sight has been growing steadily over the years.
Another energy source is hydropower, meaning the force of water. Again, it is a natural source that is all around us and creates no direct pollution. The flow of water has been used to power machinery for hundreds of years, and with technology nowadays, it can stored in reservoirs and at dams to then generate power and electricity for large populations.
Another source is from wind energy. Like water power, wind has been used for centuries to power mills and boats. Today, wind turbines can be seen off shore or on top of hills and divide opinion on an aesthetic level. However, they deliver clean energy by using nothing but a natural resource.
These are the big three of potential renewable energy supplies when fossil fuels either run out or become too scarce and expensive to consider. There are numerous other options available. Geothermal energy is one, which relies on the heat of the earth’s interior to generate power. Others are to use the waves of the sea, the huge potential of hydrogen and also bio mass material to produce fuel and electricity.

Top Renewable Energy Sources

There are several renewable energy resources and environmentally friendly at the same time and natural processes are harnessed. These energy sources are classified as clean energy sources and described as renewable energy since no resources are used to create any energy.
• Tidal Power – is generated in two different ways either through tidal generators which are generally very environmentally friendly or barrage generation. It is not widely used however and similar to wind turbines, as tidal stream generators rotate underwater and swiftly moving dense water drives it.
• Wave power – can be used for water desolation, water pumping and electricity generation. It is a difficult process however in the fact that ocean and wave direction is unpredictable.
• Solar power – is the cheapest form of renewable energy with the use of the sun’s power to produce electricity. This is one of the fastest growing renewable technologies used and very efficient. It is used for small and medium sized applications and widely used every day.
• Wind power – is renewable energy used for mechanical and electrical energy. The conversion of wind energy is a powerful renewable energy resource and its growth is growing each year.
• Hydroelectricity – is the use of power generated by gravitational force of flowing or falling water. It is maybe the most widely used for of renewable energy and after installation initially there is no direct waste.
• Radiant energy – a method called fractionation is used to extract energy from electricity.
• Geothermal power – natural processes are used to extract renewable energy from the earth and very efficient and powerful. Geothermal plants can generate power on large scale and currently used in 24 different countries world-wide.
• Biomass – refers to plant matter grown specifically or even trash such as yard clippings, dead branches and dead trees as well as animal matter as well as biodegradable waste.

Types of Renewable Energy

The United States relies heavily on natural gas, oil and coal for its energy. The use of Fossil fuels are to environmentally damaging to retrieve and also too expensive to retrieve and are non-renewable and resources dwindle as oppose to solar energy and wind energy, which are renewable energies and can never run out as it is constantly replenished.

Renewable energy usually comes either from the sun, whether it is directly or indirectly. The sun or solar energy as it is known are used directly for lighting and heating homes and buildings, hot water heating, cooking, solar cooling, generation of electricity and other industrial and commercial uses. The heat of the sun drives wind and that energy gets captures by wind turbines. With the combination of the sun’s heat and the wind, water is evaporated. The water vapor formed then turns into snow or rain and flow into streams and rivers and this energy are captures with the use of hydroelectric power.

The sunlight, snow and rain also cause greenery to grow and the organic matter the plants consist of is called biomass. This is used to produce transportation fuels, electricity or chemicals. When biomass is used for one of the mentioned purposes it is called bioenergy. Organic compounds and water also contain Hydrogen and as we all know water is an abundant Earth element. Hydrogen however is combined with elements such as oxygen in the making of water. When hydrogen is separated from other elements, it can be converted into electricity or burned as fuel.

Some renewable energy that does not come from the sun is geothermal energy where the earth’s internal heat is tapped for the use of cooling and heating of buildings and electric power production. The ocean’s tide also produce energy with the gravitational pull of the moon and sun upon Earth.

Investing In Renewable Energy

Why Invest in Renewable Energy?
Given all the attention that renewable energy is getting in the news over the last couple years, investing in renewable energy has become a hot topic. People are drawn to renewable energy for one of several reasons:

  • To fight Global Warming
  • To prepare for Peak Oil.
  • To improve Energy Security and local economies.
  • To cash in on the above trends.

The beauty of investing in renewable energy companies is that these goals are not mutually exclusive. With one investment, the investor can feel good about what his money is doing for three reasons, while putting his money in what is proving to be a spectacular growth story.

How To Invest

For mutual fund investors, Renewable Energy focused mutual funds have been few and far between, but the recent growth of interest in the sector has lead to a plethora of new offerings. US investors can choose from load funds such as the New Alternatives Fund (NALFX) and Calvert Global Alternative Energy Fund (CGAEX) and the no-load Guinness Atkinson Alternative Energy Fund (GAAEX). Unfortunately, the load funds have expense ratios in excess of 1.25%, and the Guinness Atkinson fund’s ratio is 1.98%. Given these high expenses, I strongly prefer the industry ETFs.

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Worldwide efforts are under way for cutting carbon dioxide emissions. Recycling steel, aluminum and copper are a few examples of where the energy used to recycle these metals is minimal compared to the energy required produce them. Cars, appliances and other products are continually being redesigned to allow for easy disassembly into component parts for recycling or reuse.

Other countries such as Japan and Germany are requiring that automobiles, office equipment and household appliances be designed to allow for easier dis-assembly and recycling. Japan is mandating that consumers bear the cost of disassembling items such as washing machines, TV’s and air conditioners. In May of 1998 Japanese recycling law forbids discarding appliances without first disassembling them at the consumers expense.

The Caterpillar Company is a leader in the re-manufacturing of its heavy industry sector. At one plant in Corinth Mississippi, Caterpillar recycles 17 truckloads of diesel engines per day. The engines are dissembled by hand without throwing away a simple bolt or screw. All these parts are then repaired and eventually reassembled into a new engine. The company’s re-manufacturing division adds one billion dollars to its bottom line in the process!

Recycling Facts

The U. S. opened the first recycling center in 1896. Since that time we have come a long way. However, we still have a long way to go to improve the transformation of waste into useable resources.

How Much Trash is produced in the US?

Municipal solid waste (MSW) consists of common household trash such as food scraps. packaging, yard waste and appliances. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) takes all of these things into account when compiling statistics for MSW. These figures do not include construction waste or hazardous materials.

As the trash in the U.S. continues to increase, EPA Statistic show that from 1980 until 2005 MSW increased by 60% representing 246 million tons of MSW, hat figure is 2 million tons smaller than in 2004.

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