What is Renewable Energy?

Renewable energy is a growing field that now provides jobs to millions of people around the world ranging from engineers to site developers. As finite energy sources such as coal and oil continue to dwindle, companies are transitioning their focus to renewable energy sources with a huge increase in career opportunities. This has left many wondering exactly what renewable energy is, how it is affecting the global economy today, and what skills are needed to enter into this emerging field.

The Rise of Renewable Energy

Studies carried out by the International Energy Agency show that almost every form of renewable energy is on the rise throughout the world including a 25 percent increase to wind energy every year and an annual growth rate of 50 percent for solar energy. Many are still curious as to what exactly renewable energy is and how it is differentiated from non-renewable energy. The most basic difference between these two forms of energy is the amount of energy that humans consume on a regular basis. If the energy can renew itself well beyond the consumption rate of humans, it is considered renewable energy.

Renewable Energy Efficiency

Renewable energy goes well between wind farms and solar plants, however, and many are surprised to hear that there are dozens of forms of renewable energy, many of which have only been discovered recently. Even within the fields of solar and wind energy, new advances are dramatically shifting how electricity is being produced by these two powerful forms of nearly-untapped energy. Currently, solar energy cells are relatively expensive to produce and only yield a miniscule fraction of the sun’s energy that is hitting the earth. The same goes for wind energy as wind farms are only harnessing a small percentage of the potential.

Research in Emerging Fields

In addition to these two forms of renewable energy, there are a handful of other options that have recently become much more viable alternatives. Geothermal energy harnesses heat that is emanating from the earth’s core in order to create electricity. In some countries, this form of power has even been introduced as a source of heat for buildings and even cooking. Along the same line, the ocean is a nearly untapped source of energy with extensive research only taking place within the last few years. As tides and currents move throughout the ocean, this power can be harnessed much like a windmill. Underwater and above-water installations are now being used to create electricity with fans, mills, and pressure tanks.

These alternate forms of energy have not only become popular in recent years, they have also led to an explosion of jobs. Around the world, millions of dollars are being poured into both researching new technology for alternative energy as well as implementing in energy farms, damns, and plants. This has also led to an increase in jobs requiring degrees ranging from economics to structural engineering. Everyone can rest assured in the fact that, as fossil fuels become more scarce, alternative forms of energy will continue to become more popular with countless options including nuclear power, wind farms, solar power, hydroelectric dams, geothermal energy, and more.