Renewable Energy: Big Changes and New Growth
Major changes are happening right now in the energy industry that are impacting both the public and private sectors. According to WIRED.com, 75 percent of the electricity generating capacity in the United States currently depends on the combustion of fossil fuels, and a number of states have started looking for alternative ways to produce energy. New York has committed to meeting 50 percent of its power needs from clean, reliable, low-cost energy sources such as wind by 2030. It is the fifth state to commit to a 50 percent or more target for clean energy.[i] There are several states that took this pledge including Oregon, Hawaii, California, and Kansas.
The Renewable Energy Revolution
When it comes to private sector organizations that are investing in clean, renewable energy, Warren Buffet’s utility company MidAmerican Energy Holdings ordered 1,050 megawatts of Siemens AG (SIE) wind turbines at the cost of approximately $1 billion in December of 2013. That is the biggest land-based wind turbine purchase to date.[ii] So far, the primary focus of these efforts have been wind and solar. However, geothermal energy and bioenergy (renewable energy produced by living organisms) are generating interest as well.
Renewable Energy to the Rescue
While there has been significant growth in renewable sources of energy, they currently account for only about 13 percent of the world’s electricity production. In addition to renewable energy, it seems that natural gas will be one of the most abundant energy sources for the future, only falling short of oil and coal. Natural gas now accounts for about 22 percent of the world’s energy consumption, and demand is growing.[iii] When it comes to natural gas, a new production process called hydraulic fracturing – or “fracking” – has allowed producers to tap into huge gas reserves that were previously unavailable. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, the demand for natural gas is expected to increase by approximately 56 percent through 2040.[iv]
Growth of Energy in America
The energy field is always growing and changing, and the expansion in clean and renewable sources is expected to create new jobs in the energy industry. This includes workers to install and fix wind turbines, solar arrays and other energy generating equipment. The industry could always use fresh minds and new ideas to accelerate this change, and with both governments and corporations looking to improve energy generation there could be numerous advances coming. There are numerous opportunities and career paths one can pursue in this field. If you would like to learn more about the possibilities in the energy industry, please contact us. You can reach us by telephone at 734-423-2100 (Canton, Michigan) or 888-547-7047 (Houston, Texas) or visit us online at www.miat.edu.