The Top 5 Renewable Energy companies in the US

Renewable energy has become a source of concern for many people throughout the world. They are becoming concerned not only about the damage fossil fuels do to our environment but also the depletion of those non-renewable energy sources. As a result more companies are choosing to do their part in creating a safer environment and assuring we have enough energy to maintain the future of the world.

It’s important for companies to do their part because of several reasons. First, the industrial sector is one which is often most guilty of pollution and energy consumption. Thus, when they do what they can to change their ways it can make a huge impact on the environment. Some companies are very vocal with their environmentally friendly practices others do their part in a very quiet way. It’s important for consumers to be aware of the companies who are interested in helping the environment, however.

While there are many more “Green Power Partners” as defined by the EPA, the top five companies are as follows:

1. Intel Corporation (NASDAQ-INTC) A total of 51% (1.4 billion KWh) comes from clean energy sources.

2. Kohl’s Department Stores (NYSE-KSS) All of its electricity (1.3 billion KWh) are derived from clean energy.

3. Pepsi Co (NYSE-PEP) All electricity (1.2 billion KWh) is derived from clean energy sources.

4. Whole Foods Market (NASDAQ-WFM) 105% (790 million KWh) of the electricity it uses come from sources of green power.

5. City of Houston, Texas 34% (438 million KWh) of its electricity is derived from clean energy and green power.

Careers in Renewable Energy

More companies are making the move into green energy and with those move comes the need for more employees. Those who have a concern for the environment and the future of our energy sources are making the move to companies who share their ideals.

Wind, marine and solar energy are three of the most common forms of renewable energy and those with which most people are familiar. With a real push toward doing the right thing and with many business grants and loans available to those interested in renewable energy research and companies, there are many jobs being created in the renewable energy sector.

There is no substantial difference in the performance of jobs but rather the fuels that power the equipment which operates those jobs. Even web hosting services are using renewable energy sources to run the servers that provide Internet access to millions of companies and individuals on a daily basis.

Green energy is not only safer for the environment but also for those who live, work and play around those energy sources. Instead of the fumes that surround natural gas and oil we can use the sun’s energy.

The Amish have the right idea with many still creating their own source of energy using wind mills. After seeing how successful the wind energy methods can be, many new companies are hitting the scene trying to properly harness wind power and with them they are bringing many new research and operational jobs with them.

Overall, with the government still on board to help those who wish to enter the renewable energy sector, it’s expected more jobs will continue to open up in the industry.

Examples of Renewable Energy Projects Current Underway

Concerns about the future of our environment are causing many companies to look into renewable energy sources. Utility companies in many areas are making concentrated efforts to use renewable energy sources for the power they provide to customers.

They are building new power plants that operate on solar or wind power instead of fossil fuels. While this conversion is quite expensive to undergo, it will provide clean and inexpensive power sources when the projects are completed.

Of course, the government offers many grants and financial options for companies interested in converting. This fact alone can help renewable energy projects continue to grow in number and in success. After all, it only makes sense for companies to convert their operations to renewable energy processes if they will be reimbursed or even compensated by the government for doing so.

In these cases, it’s a win-win situation for everyone involved. The world benefits and the company can benefit as well. They don’t have to pay for conversion, they can do their part and they often get tax credits for agreeing to do so.

Other companies are taking the initiative to convert to solar or wind power as well. These changes will not affect the way they operate; they simply need to convert their present equipment to accommodate these renewable energy sources.

Colorado State University is working with experts in Denver to develop new and innovative ways to use wind energy. These efforts will not be overnight by any means but they will have a definite effect on the future of our world and its current non-renewable energy sources. There are many other efforts currently in the planning stages throughout the world.

Energy from Trash or Solid Waste

While most of us don’t think of it, trash and solid waste can be converted into renewal energy. After all, who could think trash and solid waste would be useful for anything but filling up garbage dumps? While it may seem a little unusual, these sources are readily available and do not have an affect on the environment if they are properly controlled.

Unlike fossil fuels, there is no need to worry about depleting the earth’s natural resources because there will always be trash and solid waste to burn for the creation of energy. Creating energy from these abundant materials not only provides another source of renewable energy but also reduces the amount of trash and solid waste in our environment. Of course, those in rural areas have been using trash as energy for years. But, this new push is looking more toward larger scale energy from trash and solid waste.

It’s essential when burning trash or solid waste for energy to make sure you are careful not to burn toxic waste and to ascertain the fumes do not escape into the air and cause environmental issues. Plants that make energy from these sources (called MSW plants) are heavily controlled by the Environmental Protection Agency and must follow strict guidelines during the creation of energy.

As more sources of renewable energy develop more provisions will be necessary for plants that generate energy from trash and solid waste. Of course, there also may be more grants and financial reimbursements from the government for those who choose to go into the trash or solid waste energy field coming soon.

Sustainable Agriculture is America’s Latest Growing Movement

Farmers are at the forefront of demanding more federal assistance for the practice of sustainable agriculture. In the past they were relatively alone in their cause, but lately more and more agriculturally minded go-green environmentalists are joining their cause. Switching over to sustainable agriculture is no longer a cause reserved for a niche, but instead now also includes a number of chefs, economists and agriculturists with a vested interest in seeing sustainable agriculture become a reality sooner rather than later.

The driving force behind the sustainable agriculture movement is the need for a boost in the economic well being of rural economies, while at the same time acknowledging natural resources are not endless. This calls for a different treatment of animals, cultivation of the soil so as to preserve it and the natural infusion of biological agents which will nourish and enrich the earth. In a very real way, this already includes a lot of the suggestions environmentally conscious individuals have made for years.

Although there are some in rural communities who are eyeing the clamor for sustainable agriculture with a bit of suspicion (after all, it does require a change in the way business is being done) those who are on the forefront of the movement say it is time to get away from the status quo. Organic food production, healthier means of farming, the use of sustainable energy, conservation of water and a more natural means of storing the goods all go into the sustainable agriculture movement.

Details of the National Renewable Energy Laboratories

The nation’s main laboratory for renewable energy is The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL). The lab focuses on energy efficient research and development and has a mission to stay focused on advancing the U.S. Department of Energy's goals for America.

All researchers at the facility support the market’s objectives to fast forward research from being simply scientific in nature to being market-viable as alternative energy solutions for all of America. The NREL’s research and technology development areas focus on the understanding of renewable resources, the conversion of the renewable resources to electricity/fuel and the manner of being able to use this energy in homes, buildings and automobiles.

The research and development areas of NREL specialize in renewable electricity, renewable fuel, integrated energy system engineering and strategic energy analysis. The teams of researchers and developers have won 42 R&D 100 awards, showing how they are well respected in their field of study.

The National Renewable Energy Laboratories first opened in 1977 and was called the Solar Energy Research Institute. In September 1991, it was designated as the national laboratory of the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). The institute’s name change occurred during this transition.

It remains the principle research lab and facility for the Department of Energy Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy. In addition, it works with the Office of Science and the Office of Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability. The entire National Renewable Energy Laboratories is managed by the Alliance for Sustainable Energy, LLC.

Hydrogen Powered Vehicles Are Getting Closer

With the demise of the American car industry such as it is now, manufacturers are looking for the next thing on the horizon to keep their companies out of bankruptcy. It would appear hydrogen powered vehicles are fitting the bill and already there is a call to have hydrogen powered vehicles replace those running on fossil fuels which are currently polluting the environment. Since hydrogen is not implicated in any harmful activities when burned – unlike carbon monoxide in gasoline powered cars – it is widely believed to be the substance of the future.

Before you go out looking for hydrogen powered vehicles, however, consider that the process required to make these cars a reality is still rather costly. As such, manufacturers cannot hope to make any profit with their hydrogen powered vehicles until and unless they manage to greatly reduce their overall cost to the consumer. This accounts for the vast amount of experimentation currently going on in the car industry and also related industries.

While there have been rumors at least one major American car manufacturer will produce hydrogen powered vehicles by 2010, the odds are good recent industry upheaval will put these plans by the wayside. This opens up the race to the national scene and it is only a matter of time until one of the big competitors will take the bull by the horns and devise a viable product. Since the market is ready and consumer behavior is decidedly shifting toward greener shores, the motivation is undoubtedly there.

Saving the Forests in the 19th Century

Should there be a discussion of old school energy policy – conservation – saving the forests in the 19th century and also the use of at-home means of cutting back? In the past it was considered the only feasible means of reducing a household’s energy intake.

Unfortunately, even a momentary lapse in dedication to the cause results in a reneging on the actual energy savings; what is more, in some cases a homeowner who is not entirely well versed in old school energy policy – conservation – saving the forests in the 19th century, and green living, actually may do more harm than good.

To this end, old school energy policy is no longer considered the only form of reliable conservation, and saving the forests in the 19th century is now recognized as a national problem rather than simply a neighborhood issue.

This necessitates the recognition and introduction of renewable power options, such as solar, wind, biofuel and of course also hydroelectric power. It is only when sufficient funds may be allocated to this venture, and of course 20th century forest concerns are combined with these issues, that change can have a chance of actually becoming popular enough to take a more permanent hold.

Top 5 States in the US for Renewable Energy Use

The United States is full of renewable resources within the geographical environment of the land. Some states are doing a better job than others tapping into these resources and using them to their environmental advantage.

Some experts feel politics has a big impact on which states excel in this area and which fail. With commitment from political leaders, it appears states are moving to the forefront of the issue and gaining great success. Here is a list of the top 5 states in the US for renewable energy use.

1) California: With an environmentally conscious leader (Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger) at the forefront of this large state, California is emerging as the undeclared winner in the renewable energy race. The state also has the most aggressive approach to greenhouse-gas reduction goals when compared to all other states in America.

2) Texas: This state contains the world’s biggest wind farm which can generate more electricity from wind than any other state in America. Thus, they come in as a close second due to their amazing wind power capabilities.

3) Massachusetts: With Boston being of the “greenest” cities in America, this state is making good use of environmental incentives.

4) Colorado: One major reason why Colorado is coming into the top states regarding renewable energy is because of Vestas Wind Systems. This company has opened four new plants in the state and is known for being the world's leading supplier of wind turbines.

5) New Jersey: Due to a sturdy public-private partnership and an administration ran by environmentally friend Governor Jon Corzine, New Jersey is the solar state of America.

The Dangers And Damages Associated With Greenhouse Gases

Green house gases are gases which are composed of water vapor, carbon dioxide, methane and other components. These gases are in the atmosphere and they both absorb and emit radiation within the thermal infrared range.

These gases trap heat within the earth’s surface. Naturally occurring gases help to heat the earth making it a habitable temperature. Unfortunately due to human kind producing unnaturally occurring green house gases in increasing amounts there is the effect of a rise in global temperature (global warming).

This rise in temperature is causing climate changes such as floods, droughts and other extreme weather conditions such as tsunamis. Other effects from these gases and the temperature increase are glacier retreat, arctic shrinkage, sea level rise and possible species extinction, such as the struggling population of the once thriving polar bear.

With ongoing studies and research being performed we are beginning to understand our mistakes that we have made in the care of our environment and our planet. With each new finding we are now under the realistic understanding we are killing our planet, the animals that live here and ourselves through our actions.

We have to make the leap into action in using our renewable resources in place of our use of fossil fuels in order to slow down the harmful effects that we have caused. Knowledge is power and putting that knowledge to practice may help to save our world for future generations. It is up to our generation here and now to put this process in motion so there will be a future for us all.