Jobs in the Renewable Energy Industry
With the recent surge of interest in environmentally-friendly energy sources, people have been inundated by loads of new catch-phrases: eco-friendly energy, alternative energy, renewable energy, green-friendly energy, clean energy and more.
The essential point to renewable energy is that it is derived from sources that are (no big surprise here) renewable. But what does that mean exactly? Renewable sources include solar energy which is derived from the sun, wind energy which comes from harnessing wind power, water energy that comes from utilizing the power of water sources like water falls or the ocean's natural tides. The sun, wind and water are not used up in the process of energy production. Biofuel, energy from plant sources like corn or soy beans, is also considered renewable because these plants can be easily re-grown again and again.
Emphasizing Sustainable Renewable Energy
When it comes to pinpointing what we now refer to as "renewable energy," most professionals prefer to emphasize renewable energy that is sustainable, meaning that its resources can be continually harvested and used in a way that the resource itself is not depleted or permanently damaged. The reason this distinction is so important to the new environmentally-conscious mindset is that it definitively weeds out non-sustainable and environmentally-harmful fuel sources like coal, petroleum and natural gas.
It took millions and millions of years to produce these three fossil fuels from ancient plant matter and the world will eventually run out of these energy sources .They are in other words neither renewable in any practical sense, nor sustainable. They are considered finite resources and, what's more, they are environmentally harmful: when fossil fuels are used to produce energy, gases that contribute to climate warming and air pollution, are released. They are therefore getting less popular. The change from fossil fuel economies to economies based on renewable energies is complicated and expensive, however in recent years governments have taken greater initiative towards the promoting eco-friendly energy, including renewable energy. Need proof? Consider the increased incentives provided by State governments in the US for homeowners to install solar panels, or global events like the G8 summit which emphasize energy efficiency. At present about 18 percent of the world's electricity is produced with renewable sources, and this number should increase in the future.
Recap: What Renewable Energy Is and Is NOT
Sources that can be considered renewable energy include the following: wind energy, water or hydrolectric energy, solar energy, and biofuel energy, all of which are considered to be renewable energy sources by the US Department of Energy's Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Program. Coal, petroleum, natural gas, and uranium (which is used for nuclear energy) are not considered renewable. The US Department of Energy pinpoints these four as the most-used non-renewable energy sources.
Renewable Energy Job Titles
Now that you have a better idea of exactly what renewable energy means, you're probably wondering about the types of renewable energy job titles that you can find on today's job market.