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Tag Archive | "Renewable Energy"

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Ever Thought About a Career in the Renewable Energy Industry?

Now more than ever, the need for renewable energy is paramount for the sustainability of the future. With the continuing flow of oil leaks, accidents and damage being done to the environment, more and more people are turning to renewable energy as a primary source for powering and heating their homes. In 2011 alone, the demand for renewable energy outstripped the need for any single fossil fuel. This may not seem too exceptional or significant, but this has never before happened in the history of fossil fuels. At the current rate of growth, analysts predict that the demand for renewable energy and renewable energy technology shall rise by 8% every year until 2030.

In a recent report published in January 2012, there was stated to be a total of $260 billion invested into renewable energy during 2011 in the United States. With energy suppliers now looking towards clean energy, the demand for trained installers and technicians has never been higher. Now more than ever, roofers across the United Kingdom are looking to branch out into the renewable revolution and become some of the select few qualified and experienced professionals in the industry. With training centres all over the country, including Ploughcroft Training Solar Renewable Centre of Excellence, it has never been easier.

One of the forerunners of renewable energy technologies is solar energy; many people have seen solar panels on the homes of other people, and are interested in having them installed in their own homes, but most people are unaware of how solar power works.

Photovoltaic panels, otherwise known as solar panels (or PV), work by absorbing the radiation emitted by the sun. This energy received by the panels is then sent to an inverter within the building, which then converts the energy to electricity. This electricity is then passed through into the house or is fed in to the national grid via a feed-in tariff. Most people assume that photovoltaic panels only work during the hottest days and during the summer. This is simply not true; as the United Kingdom receives 60% of the sunlight received on the equator, you do not have to live in the tropics to make Solar PV panels sustainable. Also, during winter, the panels still receive diffused radiation during cloud cover, which means that solar panels produce electricity during all types of weather.

It is a little known fact that solar energy is also lucrative to the people who have them installed on their homes. As already mentioned, any excess energy can be transferred to the national grid via a feed-in tariff. This means that solar panels can make you money, tax free and guaranteed for at least twenty-five years. As a typical 4kWp system can save the average household £980 (US$1,540) a year on bills, photovoltaic panels can pay for themselves over and over again during their twenty-five year lifespan.

All across the country there are specialized and approved training centers where experienced roofers, electricians and plumbers are able to go and train on a variety of solar energy courses. Here they can learn, and gain hands on experience in fitting, maintaining and caring for solar photovoltaic panels. Unlike other resources, the sun has no plans of running out anytime soon, and with all energy deriving from this one source, there really is no reason not to train in solar energy, today.

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Robert Redford Calls for Clean Energy Era

Robert Redford recently penned an article for the Huffington Post entitled, “Balancing Renewable Energy Projects & Public Lands Stewardship,” in which he blames the Bush Administration for eight years of eight years of rampant oil and gas drilling on our lands. Redford says that now the Bush Administration is gone,  Americans need to begin the process of recognizing the need for clean energy.

“America is on the verge of a renewable energy gold rush. Hundreds of applications for wind and solar projects have been filed on public lands. I think this is long overdue. We need sustainable energy to help us reduce global warming pollution, and we need it fast. But if we don’t handle this boom carefully, unspoiled wildlands will get trammeled in its wake. Right now, we have an opportunity to start the clean energy era off right.”

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Renewed Interest in Renewable Energy

The Obama economic stimulus package, which invested so heavily in renewable energy like wind and solar power, is finally having an effect on the green industries.

In a statement to the NY Times the vice-president of Sharp Solar, Ron Kenedi, said that although December, January and February had been “miserable,” things are starting to pick up.

“I call this the green shoots period. We’re seeing new growth,” he said.

Kenedi went to allude to a large-scale, unnamed solar project, which lost its financing late last year. Now, with banks willing to invest “they’ve unstuck their project.”

He also made mention of the stimulus money that will soon be flowing to state governments via conservation-oriented block grants. This should show a marked influence on small-scale solar projects.

However, he added, the industry is still looking for clarity on how a new Treasury grant program (an important stimulus measure for renewable energy that turns tax credits into straight grants) will work. “We are also noting that the financing of projects already slated to go forward is taking extra time to get done,” he said.

Lawyer with Chadbourne & Parke, Keith Martin, stated in an email that a recent call he had conducted with bankers indicated a consensus that the stimulus package is resulting in more activity, if not yet money, in the renewable energy sector.

“There are lots of proposal letters and term sheets circulating,” he said in an e-mail message. “The mood is improving, but it has not translated yet into closing and fresh capital flowing into deals.”

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Eco-friendly Biogas Toilet Inventor Honored

On Wednesday Stockholm Water Prize was awarded to Bindeshwar Pathak for his work developing eco-friendly and inexpensive toilets to bolster public health.

Pathak, a sanitation expert who founded the Sulabh Sanitation Movement in India in 1970, has worked “to improve public health, advance social progress and improve human rights in India and other countries,” stated the Stockholm International Water Institute (SIWI) jury in a citation.

“The results of Dr. Pathak’s endeavours constitute one of the most amazing examples of how one person can impact the well-being of millions.”

Pathak’s eco-friendly toilet systems require significantly less water per flush at only 1.5 liters. Astounding considering that conventional toilets use almost seven times that amount. This factor had a particularly large impact on drought stricken regions.

A true pioneer in renewable energy, Pathak also developed systemd that convert human waste into biogas that can then be used for heating, cooking and electricity generation. Now we’re cooking with gas!

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Porritt, UK Population Must Be Cut in Half

The UK has been taking on environmental issues with a refreshing fervor lately. Prime Minister Gordon Brown has instituted numerous initiatives and milestones that treat global warming and all manner of environmental issues with some real respect.

But a recent comment from Jonathon Porritt, one of Brown’s environmental advisers, has left plenty of people scratching their heads. Brown is going to speak at this week’s Optimum Population Trust (OPT) and he will warn that in order for Britain to exist as a sustainable society it would have to cut it’s population in roughly half to 30 million people.

This in itself might not be too shocking if you think of it in terms of illustrating how much food and energy is consumed per capita in Britain. Porritt said: “Population growth, plus economic growth, is putting the world under terrible pressure. Each person in Britain has far more impact on the environment than those in developing countries so cutting our population is one way to reduce that impact.”

At this week’s OPT Porritt is expected to advise that in order for the UK to feed itself it will need to cut it’s population by more than half to 30 million people.

The idea that the UK has to cut it’s population in half seems a touch extreme. Wouldn’t it make more sense to make an urgent call to cut down on waste and invest in renewable energy? Is it such a terrible thing to have a nation that imports food? Is it necessary that every nation be completely self-sustainable? What about the global economy? Is population control even possible?

It’s definitely an interesting topic and we look forward to reporting on what happens at the OPT this week.

Either way, overpopulation is a touchy subject for many and environmental groups tend to shy away from it. So it is refreshing to see someone with influence finally addressing it, but maybe he should have eased people into the idea. The way he said it sounds like next week we’re going to see Soylent Green factories springing up in the English countryside.

Britain’s population, currently at 61 million, is expected to rise to around 71 million by 2031.

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Ontario Paying Big for Small-Scale Renewable Energy

Back in 2007, the Ontario Power Authority (OPA) looked like it was setting a wonderful green precedent when it adopted a feed-in tariff for renewable energy. This allowed people who had adopted their own forms of renewable energy systems, like solar panels and wind turbines, to sell their excess power to the OPA at a set rate over a certain time period. Unfortunately, the OPA was accused by solar advocacy groups of setting the price too low and consequently failing to encourage the growth of any grass roots level renewable energy projects.

It looks like that issue might now be corrected as the legislature is now mulling over the idea of increasing feed-in tariff in concert with the proposed Green Energy Act. Both homeowners and renewable energy companies stand to start making better money for their clean energy this summer if the program gets approved. Renewable energy systems with the potential to qualify include: solar power, wind power, hydro, biogas, biomass and landfill gas turned to electricity.

The proposed new tariffs do a much better job of encouraging all of these, especially small-scale solar installations, which get the highest tariff. This is part of a larger effort to encourage 100,000 solar panel systems to be installed on residential rooftops. If this became a reality those solar panels would account for one percent of Ontario’s power supply. With the proposed feed-in tariff for small-scale solar projects proposed to be as high as 80.2 cents per kilowatt-hour; nearly double what a large solar plant would be paid, giving great incentive to start these kinds of small solar projects.

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Smart-grid Project Matches Wind Power with Electric Cars

Smart-grid technology is taking another step forward as IBM is joining with Danish research consortium EDISON and seeking to optimize wind turbine energy for use with electric cars.

The goal of the project will be to correspond wind turbine energy from the island of Bornholm, Denmark, with the power consumption of electric cars.

The goal of the project is two-fold: increase the number of electric cars in Denmark to 10 percent of the vehicles on the road while shifting an even greater emphasis to wind power in the country.

Denmark already receives 20 percent of its power from renewable energy sources like wind turbines.

IBM’s Global Energy and Utilities is currently involved in approximately 50 different projects like this that relate to smart-grid technology. Allan Schurr, vice president of strategy and development recently explained their emphasis on smart-grid tech saying that it can help utilities better integrate renewable energy sources and run the transmission grid more efficiently.

Smart-grid technologies are not required to make larger use of wind and solar power but they can make them less expensive,” Schurr said. “Getting a handle on power supply and demand in real time helps address the variable nature of wind and solar power,” he said.

He went on to explain that many forms of renewable energy, particularly wind power, cause problems for power grid operators since power supply is unpredictable. Smart-grid technology can help modulate the loads so that if the wind is blowing, cars should be charging.

The Danish Edison project will try to use simulations and historical data to predict how best to correspond wind turbines power output with the charging of electric car batteries. An example of how this might function would be for a drop in wind speeds to be matched with a slow down in how fast electric car batteries are charged.

Smart grid technology can help balance electricity supply from wind power or solar energy with demand. This would mean eliminating the need for fossil fuel backup generators that are typically used as stand-by power suppliers.

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Obama Congress Address Sobering but Hopeful

President Barack Obama addressed Congress and the nation tonight, warning that although it will take a long time for the flailing economy to mend, with courage and hard work, better economic times are on the horizon. Obama spoke to a joint session of Congress which was nationally televised. He gave a message of hope, but the President was clear he did not want to raise false expectations.

“If you haven’t been personally affected by this recession, you probably know someone who has,” Obama began.

“While our economy may be weakened and our confidence shaken; though we are living through difficult and uncertain times, tonight I want every American to know this: We will rebuild, we will recover, and the United States of America will emerge stronger than before,” Obama said to a rousing standing ovation.

“The answers to our problems don’t lie beyond our reach. They exist in our laboratories and universities; in our fields and our factories; in the imaginations of our entrepreneurs and the pride of the hardest-working people on Earth. Those qualities that have made America the greatest force of progress and prosperity in human history we still possess in ample measure. What is required now is for this country to pull together, confront boldly the challenges we face, and take responsibility for our future once more.”

Obama spoke about how we lived in an era where short-term gains became a priority. He warned that now is the time to act boldly and to invest in energy, education and health care. He hopes to create 3.5 million jobs in the private sector which includes constructing wind turbines and solar panels.

In the next few days, Obama said he will submit a budget to congress, which he sees as a vision for America. The budget will focus on three areas: renewable energy, health care and education. He added that to truly transform our planet, we need to make the energy that is profitable. To support that, Obama stressed that he would invest $15 billion a year on renewable energy technologies including biofuels, solar energy and wind energy. He also promised to double the nation’s supply of renewable energy within two years.

“That is why I will be asking Congress for a market based cap on carbon pollution and drives the production of clean, renewable energy in Amercia,” Obama said.

Obama told Americans that if they have questions about the stimulus plan, they can go to where they’ll be able to see how every penny is being spent. If you weren’t watching, Obama’s speech was met with multiple standing ovations.

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Clean Energy Details of Economic Stimulus Bill

This afternoon President Barack Obama signed the $787 billion economic stimulus bill at the solar panel equipped Denver Museum of Nature & Science.

The clean energy industry will benefit significantly from the stimulus bill with a portion of $43 billion set aside for energy as well as some of the $111 billion that is going towards science and infrastructure.

Among the relevant monies clean energy will benefit from are: clean power grants, renewable energy tax credits, renewable energy manufacturing, transmission lines, smart grid, green homes and small wind, solar and geothermal power.

Clean power grants will be awarded to clean energy developers that cover up to 30 percent of the cost of projects.

Renewable energy tax credits have been extended through to 2012 for wind energy, geothermal, hydro power and biomass production.

Renewable energy manufacturing facilities can now enjoy a tax credit of up to $2 billion if they produce components used in the renewable energy industry like parts for wind turbines or solar panels.

Transmission lines and grid improvement will be bolstered and expanded through $2 billion in stimulus money and another $6.5 billion in low-interest loans.

The electric grid will be improved and made “smarter” through $4.4 billion that will go to adding hardware and software that will allow the grid to work as a 2-way digital network.

With $2 billion to be spread out over 10 years greener homes will become more common through the provision of tax credits towards improving energy efficient appliances and insulation.

Home wind turbines, solar panels and geothermal will be subsidized with $872 million in tax credits over 10 years.

Hopefully this stimulus bill will not only help the economy to recover but, ideally, provide a long-term and reliable boost to the renewable energy industry.

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Site Launched Dedicated to Renewable Energy Jobs

A new job site dedicated to the growing renewable energy sector – – could turn your economic frown upside down.

Site creator Sam Newell states that he developed the site after recognizing an “obvious appetite for a quality recruitment and job seeker resource that supported the renewable energy industry globally. We are all working towards the same goal: the adoption of renewable energy as a viable solution to many of the world’s current energy and ecological challenges. Today one of the key constraints in making renewable energy a reality is access to qualified and experienced resource.” offers job searching capabilities specializing in renewable energy jobs in sectors like solar power and wind energy and connects employers with job applicants on a global scale.

“We launched this week without much fanfare to gauge users’ response to the site and so far it’s been extremely positive. Within the first 24 hours we had jobs posted in more than 15 countries.”

As of now, posting jobs and accessing its database of resumes is free for agencies, recruiters and applicants.

It’s an interesting site to visit already as it gives a good indication of which countries are making the biggest push into renewable energy. As of the writing of this, the UK is the front runner with 129 renewable energy job postings. The U.S. is second with 49.

Likewise, at a glance you can tell which sectors are looking for the most workers. Wind energy currently tops that list with 96 positions while solar power comes in a distant second with 32.

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