The Renewable energy market continues to grow. Climate change concerns, coupled with high oil prices, peak oil, and increasing government support, are driving increasing renewable energy legislation, incentives and commercialization. New government spending, regulation and policies helped the industry weather the 2009 economic crisis better than many other sectors. The roughly $800 billion stimulus package pending in Congress to revive the American economy includes billions of dollars in tax breaks and ther financial incentives to boost the use of renewable energy.
Renewable Energy Basics
The United States currently relies heavily on coal, oil, and natural gas for its energy. Fossil fuels are nonrenewable, that is, they draw on finite resources that will eventually dwindle, becoming too expensive or too environmentally damaging to retrieve. In contrast, renewable energy resources—such as wind and solar energy—are constantly replenished and will never run out.
Most renewable energy comes either directly or indirectly from the sun. Sunlight, or solar energy, can be used directly for heating and lighting homes and other buildings, for generating electricity, and for hot water heating, solar cooling, and a variety of commercial and industrial uses.
Cost effective solar energy technologies have the greatest potential to benefit the nation and the world. Solar technologies diversify the energy supply, reduce the country’s dependence on imported fuels, improve air quality, and offset greenhouse gas emissions. A growing solar industry also stimulates our economy by creating jobs in solar manufacturing and installation”.
The sun’s heat also drives the winds, whose energy is captured with wind turbines. Then, the winds and the sun’s heat cause water to evaporate. When this water vapor turns into rain or snow and flows downhill into rivers or streams, its energy can be captured using hydropower.
Wind power is produced by using wind generators to harness the kinetic energy of wind. It is gaining worldwide popularity as a large scale energy source, although it still only provides less than one percent of global energy consumption.
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