Energy (170)

Botswana Signs First Time Contract For GE Power's Software Technology

Aligning with Botswana's commitment to provide energy users access to affordable energy services and improve its grid efficiency, GE Power's Grid Solution business has announced that it has signed its first contract with Botswana Power Corporation (BPC) on May 24, 2018. 

The contract includes the design, supply, installation, testing and commissioning of a SCADA/Energy Management system at the principal grid control centers in Botswana Power Corporation's (BPC) headquarters in Gaborone and the back-up control center in Francistown. 

At the contract signing ceremony, Dr. Stefan Schwarzfischer, Chief Executive Officer for Botswana Power Corporation said, "The functionalities of this platform will improve customer services by leveraging our existing customer call system, reduce down-time, improve revenue collection as well as overall customer satisfaction. Once the project is completed, BPC will benefit from a single platform for both Gaborone and Francistown." 

With about 70% of the country's population having access to electricity, Botswana is currently focused on the digital transformation of its grid network to enhance reliable access for its people. 

"GE technology will bring reliable, efficient and sustainable electricity, using cutting edge digital solutions while powering the country forward," said Lazarus Angbazo, CEO, GE Grid Solutions, Sub-Saharan Africa. 

"This project marks the beginning of a rewarding partnership with BPC, reinforces GE's commitment to support the government of Botswana in its digital transformation process and will further expand GE's leadership on the Energy Management Systems market in Southern Africa where more than 50% of the Transmission utilities are relying on GE's Advanced Energy Management System (EMS) Solution Platform to operate their networks." 

With the extended IT/OT integration, more interconnected networks and further regional integration, there is a need for the renewal of many existing Energy Management Systems to achieve better monitoring and asset management across the various power pools in Africa. 

Steven Martin, Chief Digital Officer, GE Power, added, "GE Power's Digital Energy software portfolio -- including Advanced EMS – enables us to support new customers like BPC in parts of the world where portions of the population still need access to electricity. 

We are inspired by the digital strategies that BPC has created to ensure its communities grow and thrive in a time of intensive change and opportunity within the energy sector." 

GE Power's Grid Solutions business provides complete, engineered solutions for high voltage (HV) substations to power generation companies, utilities, and industries, bringing together the right mix of high-voltage products through expert engineering and full project management. GE has designed and implemented over 1,700 substation projects in the last 10 years.

IRENA To Discuss Renewable Energy At UN Meet

The International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) will highlight the central contribution renewables make to sustainable development and the substantial, cross-sectoral socioeconomic benefits of energy transformation during the United Nations High-Level Political Forum (HLPF) on Sustainable Development. The meeting will take place at UN headquarters New York from July 9-18.

Under the theme ‘Transformation towards sustainable and resilient societies’, the meeting will review the implementation of a number of Sustainable Development Goals, including SDG 7 – access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy. 

IRENA will underscore the importance of accelerating renewable energy deployment to realize SDG 7 as well as a number of other key goals, including health (SDG 3), jobs and economic growth (SDG 8), sustainable cities (SDG 11) and climate action (SDG 13) among others. 

“Renewables are transforming the global energy system at rapid pace moving us towards a new age of energy,” said Mr. Adnan Z. Amin, Director-General of the International Renewable Energy Agency, who will moderate the official SDG 7 review session during the HLPF on 10th July. 

“This shift promises to not only support our long-term climate objectives but it also contributions to the realisation of a number of other key development goals.” 

IRENA’s 2050 analysis finds that renewable energy and energy efficiency combined could achieve 90 per cent of the energy-related emission reductions needed to achieve the well-below 2°C target of the Paris Climate Agreement. 

Accelerated renewables deployment could also boost global GDP by 1 per cent and welfare by 15 per cent compared to business-as-usual, and by 2050 renewables could account for nearly 29 million jobs, up from 10.3 million today. A significant proportion of these benefits are achievable by 2030.

“Renewable energy is supporting economic growth, creating jobs and improving health and welfare in addition mitigating climate change and delivering energy access,” continued Mr. Amin. “The energy transformation’s multifaceted benefits can be realised if we put renewables at the heart of global efforts to achieve the SDGs and we accelerate the speed of their adoption.”

Globally, more than one billion people today still live without access to electricity – a challenge that off-grid renewable energy technology is helping address. Since 2008, off-grid renewable energy capacity has witnessed a spectacular three-fold increase from under 2 GW to over 6.5 GW in 2017. Currently, up to 133 million people are estimated to be served by off-grid renewables. 

Capturing these trends, IRENA will launch a consolidated renewable energy off-grid report entitled ‘Off-grid Renewable Energy for Electricity Access: Status and Trends’. The report will deliver a comprehensive picture of off-grid renewable energy technologies and adoption, harmonizing national and regional level data from around the world.

GE, Lagos State Government Sign Key Agreement

GE, the world's premier digital industrial company and the Lagos State Government have agreed to pool their resources for the development of critical infrastructure in the state in the areas of Power, Healthcare and Skills Development.

This was announced during the signing of a Support and Cooperation Agreement by both parties during the France-Nigeria Business Forum held yesterday in Lagos, one of several events hosted during the visit of President of France, Emmanuel Macron, to Nigeria.

The agreement signing between GE and LASG was witnessed by the French Secretary of State to the Minister of Economy and Finance, Delphine Geny-Stephann. It aims to record areas of mutual interest and participation between both parties, streamline the relationship and set out the terms and conditions of collaboration. Focus areas for this collaboration cut across several sectors including Power, Healthcare, Technology, Education & Financing.

In Power, the collaboration is focused on working with the state government to provide the generation capacity (MW) needed by Lagos State to power industries and households, ensuring the power generated gets to the consumers where it is needed. Using gas turbine and grid solution technologies produced in GE Power's manufacturing sites in France, GE is well positioned to deliver world class power solutions to Lagos state.

Under the healthcare sector, GE will focus on working with the state government to upgrade Primary, Secondary & Tertiary healthcare centers across the state whilst developing an efficient financing solution that will help Primary Healthcare SMEs get much needed access to funding. There will also be a strong focus on capacity development through several clinical, biomedical and leadership training programs for health workers in Lagos state.

GE also seeks to collaborate with the Lagos State Ministry of Wealth Creation & Employment on its Yaba technology hub project by setting up the Lagos Garage advanced manufacturing training program at the hub once completed. Both parties are also exploring areas of possible collaboration with the Lagos State Employment Trust Fund to offer access to financing opportunities to top graduates of the training program.

Speaking on the collaboration between GE and Lagos State government, Lazarus Angbazo, President and CEO, GE Nigeria said "We are grateful to today be signing an important MOU with the state government across key sectors in alignment with the progressive agenda of the state. We look forward to executing on these projects and know that we can count on the true partnership and support of the Government as usual."

GE has been in operation in Nigeria for decades, originally as an equipment manufacturer. Over the course of many years, through organic growth and acquisitions, the company has grown substantially and now represents the largest GE platform on the African continent. The company has about 900 employees in Nigeria, and virtually have the entire portfolio of companies of GE represented here. We have a very significant footprint in terms of manufacturing and service facilities.

GE has been operating in Nigeria for over 40 years, with more than 900 employees, 90% of whom are Nigerians.  The company has businesses spanning across key sectors including oil and gas, power, healthcare and rail transportation.

GE Commissions Hybrid Distributed Power Unit For Digo Village

General Electric (GE), the world's premier Digital Industrial Company, has commissioned a scalable micro grid system powered by a Hybrid Distributed Power unit for Digo Village in the Oromia region of Ethiopia.  

The system which was implemented in partnership with Ethiopia's Ministry of Water, Irrigation and Electricity, the Oromia Region Energy bureau as well as Ethiopian Electric Utility (EEU) will provide reliable, cost effective power to 1,500 inhabitants of Digo providing critical power to a health clinic, school, administrative offices and homes.   

The commissioning is consistent with Ethiopia's National Electrification Program – Implementation Road Map (NEP-IRM) which seeks for a coordinated off-grid implementation program plan, designed for accelerated scale-up of mini grid solutions in rural and deep rural areas.

According to Dr. Eng. Sileshi Bekele, Ethiopia's Minister of Water, Irrigation and Electricity, "Electricity access is an essential pillar of economic and social development. Localized solutions such as the Hybrid Distributed Power unit provided by GE will be part of the solution to electrify Ethiopia going forward".

GE's Hybrid Distributed Power combines PV solar panels, batteries, and a diesel generator to provide reliable, cost effective power to a mini-grid system.  GE's Predix platform, designed for digital Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), maximizes the use of clean solar power and batteries for the unit while a variable speed diesel generator provides essential backup when battery power is insufficient.  

The entire system is containerized inside a standard shipping container that can be efficiently and speedily installed.  GE partnered with a local entity, Solar Tech Plc, in the installation and commissioning of the system.

The Digo village Hybrid power system is GEs third installation in Ethiopia.  In 2017, GE funded two similar units at Health Centers in Guba and Ashoka in Southern Nations, Nationalities, and Peoples' Region (SNNPR) region.

"Electrification of Digo is a continuation of the impactful contribution that GE Is making in Ethiopia, while playing a central role in the implementation of Growth and Transformation Plan (GTP) priority projects," said Daniel Hailu, Chief Executive Officer of GE in Ethiopia.

The Hybrid Distributed Power unit was funded by GE Renewable Energy's "We Share the Power" program which brings power to remote, off grid areas of the world through efficiency savings at GE Renewable Energy's manufacturing sites around the world.

The project was also supported by GE Licensing, which works with partners around the world to bring GE's containerized hybrid power island to remote areas of the world requiring off-grid distributed power solutions to meet their energy needs.

GE businesses have been active in the Ethiopia market for over 20 years. The project execution in Ethiopia was led by the GE Hydro team in charge of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam Project, where GE supplies 5 units of 400MW.  

An integrated GE Ethiopia office was inaugurated in 2017 as a commitment towards long-term partnership in Ethiopia. The company continues to be a key partner for Africa with over 2600 employees in 33 countries. GE recently achieved its 100th power plant milestone in Sub-Saharan Africa across renewables, gas and steam plants generating over 46GW of power.

20th Anniversary Of Africa Energy Forum Concludes

The 20th Africa Energy Forum concluded on Friday in Mauritius after four days of panel discussions and networking functions focused on Africa's Energy Sector.

Over 1500 delegates attended the 20th anniversary event which took place in 26 purpose-built structures erected between the Paradis and Dinarobin Beachcomber hotels in Le Morne.

Mauritius was chosen as a location for the conference this year due to its reputation as a stable, reliable & competitive investment hub as well as for its strategic location in the Indian Ocean and impressive energy access rates.

"We really wanted to do something special this year to celebrate the Forum's anniversary," commented EnergyNet's Head of Marketing, Amy Offord.

"The theme for 2018 is reflecting on the achievements within the industry over the last 20 years, putting the energy community into the spotlight and acknowledging their on-going determination to drive the sector forward."

Several announcements from the sector took place at the event. These included the launch of the Electricity Regulatory Index (ERI) by the African Development Bank, which measures the level of development of an African country's electricity regulatory sector.

IFC signed a $34 Million Financing Agreement with Enel, IDC and EIB for the construction of 34 MW Ngonye solar plant in Zambia as part of their IFC/World Bank Scaling Solar Initiative.

Globeleq signed a joint development agreement with Mozambique's EDM to progress the 400 MW gas-fired power project located at Temane in Inhambane Province.

ENGIE announced plans to continue expanding their solar home system (SHS) and mini-grid activities, and renewable energy producer Alcazar Energy announced the first roll-out of vocational training as part of a community development initiative.

David Bhoyroo is responsible for organising group incentives for the Beachcomber resort and has been the main point of contact for organisers EnergyNet.

"It's been exciting - very different to what usually do. We didn't have a tent like that in Mauritius. When we were approached by EnergyNet we didn't really know what to expect. This is the biggest event ever hosted here."

EnergyNet's Head of Operations Verena Lester says it has been a challenging journey; "The site covers roughly 5,000 square metres and the whole process took just over a year- our first site visit to Mauritius was in April 2017. It's been an amazing adventure for us – we had so many questions and the Beachcomber had to supply many of the answers.

Those answers were never 'no' – they always found solutions. It's really critical to have partnership like this for such a large project. With the two Beachcomber hotels exclusively reserved for delegates, everyone in the hotel was involved in the event, and that's exciting."

EU Reinforces Global Energy Transformation

Director-General of the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), Adnan Z. Amin, has welcomed the European Union’s (EU) decision to increase its renewable energy target from 27 per cent to 32 per cent by 2030, highlighting that the move reinforces the EU’s position at the forefront of energy transformation and reflects the new economics of renewable energy.

Responding to the announcement made by the European Commission today, Mr. Amin said EU’s decision to increase its renewable energy target from 27 per cent to 32 per cent by 2030 is a move that consolidates Europe’s position at the forefront of the global energy transformation, and establishes a positive decarbonisation pathway in line with its commitments under the Paris Agreement.

“It is also recognition that the new economics of renewable energy have propelled it to the forefront of energy policy and investment decision making as governments around the world look to address long-term climate and economic agendas. Our renewable energy roadmap analysis, delivered to the European Commission earlier this year, identified that higher shares of renewable energy in the EU were cost-effective and would have a net positive economic impact.

“This ambitious and achievable new strategy will drive significant additional investment activity, creating thousands of new skilled jobs and improving health and wellbeing whilst decarbonising the European energy system. We welcome the decision and believe it can act as a source of encouragement to global policymakers, and as a clear reminder of the centrality of renewable energy to both economic prosperity and climate stability.”

In February, IRENA presented a report entitled ‘Renewable Energy Prospects for the European Union’ – at the request of the European Commission, outling the EU’s cost effective potential to increase its share of renewables to 34 per cent by 2030 with a net positive economic impact.

Kenya's Amu Power Signs Clean Coal Technology Agreement With GE

Gulf Energy, the developer of the 1050Mw Lamu Coal Power Plant (Amu Power), the largest private sector led infrastructure project in East and Central Africa, entered into a Clean Coal Technology agreement with General Electric (GE) that will see the plant use GE's Ultra-Supercritical Clean Coal Technology making it one of the most technologically advanced coal fired power plants in the world.

Amu Power is the special purpose company that will own and operate the 1,050 MW coal fired power plant in Lamu County, Kenya, under the Public Private Partnership ("PPP") framework.

The Agreement will also see GE through its affiliates acquire a stake in the equity of Amu Power, subject to obtaining regulatory, board and lenders' approval. Under the Agreement, GE Power will design, manufacture and deliver its market-leading Ultra Super-Critical clean coal technology components (boiler and steam turbine generator) and air quality controls systems for the Lamu Coal Power Plant.

In a briefing to H.E President Uhuru Kenyatta at State House following the signing, the parties informed H.E the President that GE's Ultra-Supercritical technology will guarantee a clean environment through elimination of emissions, and lower the overall cost of power generation in the country.

The parties further noted that upon completion, the Lamu Coal Fired Power Plant will be the single largest Independent Power Producer (IPP) in the region and will account for up to 30% of power generation capacity in Kenya.

Francis Njogu, Amu Power Managing Director said, "This is truly a historic moment for Kenya and the East African region as a whole. We are confident that this partnership forged today will go a long way to position Kenya as an Industrial hub in the continent. Kenya has been looking for ways to enhance its generation mix to provide the most efficient, least-cost and reliable power in a sustainable manner; and the technology offered by GE gives us a unique opportunity to achieve this ambition."

The Lamu Coal Fired Power Plant will be a key player in supporting the realization of the Government of Kenya's (GOK's) 'Big Four' agenda, specifically in the manufacturing sector by providing steady, reliable and affordable power. The sector's growth will create new employment opportunities every year that the Kenyan workforce will benefit from.

Statistics show that connections to the national grid grew to 6.2 million in 2017 up from one million in 2010. As the country transitions into a middle-income economy by 2030, supply of adequate, reliable and affordable energy is a key foundation.

George Njenga, the Commercial Leader, GE Steam Power, Sub-Saharan Africa said, "Kenya's energy demands are growing as the government seeks to implement its critical 'Big Four' agenda. GE Ultra Super-Critical Coal Power technology will deliver cleaner, affordable, reliable and efficient solutions as well as critical power to help meet the country's growing needs."

GE's Ultra Super-Critical technology keeps raising the efficiency bar of coal power plants and has reached 47.5% efficiency in the world's most efficient coal power plant in Germany. GE Power's best in class power generation technology is currently in operation in new generation steam plants like the Manjung 4 in Malaysia as well as future plants like the Hassyan in Dubai.

The Lamu Coal Fired Power Plant project is part of the GOK's vital and crucial initiative in the energy sector to address present electricity affordability and reliability challenges. At a tariff of US Cents 7.81/kWh, the Lamu Coal Fired Power Plant will provide base-load capacity at the lowest non-subsidized tariff in the country.

Additionally, it will have the flexibility to profile the generation according to the daily demand pattern, compared to other power production technologies that are inflexible; reducing generation costs by 12% - 36%.

Muloni Ties Up Chinese Nuclear Deal

Uganda signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with China National Nuclear Corporation (CNNC) to explore peaceful application of nuclear technology in medicine, agriculture and industry.

Uganda’s energy minister Irene Muloni and CNNC Chairman Wang Shoujun put pen to paper in Beijing, China. Shoujun expressed willingness to share their nuclear energy experience with Uganda.

He said the use of nuclear technology would help Uganda raise its infrastructure capabilities and improve its people's living standards. On her part Muloni said nuclear power development is part of Uganda’s long-term energy development plan.

She said that CNNC's capabilities in the nuclear and non-nuclear sectors were in line with Uganda's industrial development needs and that the country was willing to conduct in-depth cooperation with the company.

Media reports in China sais the text of a draft MoU between Uganda and CNNC was agreed upon during a May 2017 visit of a delegation from Uganda led by Prisca Boonabantu, undersecretary in the Ministry of Energy.

Boonabantu visit to China was followed up by a similar one by the Chinese in March 2016. Boonabantu noted that Uganda's Vision 2040 roadmap incorporated the development of nuclear energy as part of the country's future energy mix.

In June 2017, Uganda's Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development signed a similar MoU on nuclear energy cooperation with Russian state nuclear corporation Rosatom for purposes it described as peaceful.

Mauritius – A Gateway For Investment Into Africa's Energy Sector

Mauritius has enjoyed numerous accolades within the business community of late. In 2018 it was ranked 25th out of 190 countries in the World Bank 'Ease of Doing Business' report, taking first place in Sub-Saharan Africa. It also came out as top African country in the World Economic Forum's 2017-18 Global Competitiveness Index.

The country's location in the Indian Ocean has long positioned it as an attractive stepping stone for investments with China and Asia- the country has been the largest source of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in India for many years- but many other factors have contributed to Mauritius' growing reputation as a stable & competitive investment hub. Investment Protection & Promotion Agreements (IPPAs) and Double Taxation Treaties together with economic & social stability, robust communications and a skilled workforce have emboldened investors to take advantage of this offshore financial hub.

Nearly 40% of all Africa-focused private equity funds were domiciled in the country in 2014, with statistics indicating that Mauritius' growing financial sector is responsible for a significant portion of all FDI flowing into Africa.

The country boasts 100% energy access with plans to increase renewable sources to account for 35% by 2025. The Mauritius Renewable Energy Agency (MARENA) was set up in 2016 to oversee the development of renewable projects.

These benefits led to Mauritius being chosen as the next location for the Africa Energy Forum (, celebrating its 20th anniversary from 19-22 June 2018. The Forum brings together 2,000 decision-makers from the energy value chain to form partnerships and make decisions at the highest level on how to move the sector forward.

The Forum's theme 'Reflections on the last 20 years' will celebrate the achievements of the AEF community over two decades. Participants who supported the first years of the conference will return to reflect on how the sector has evolved and discuss developments likely to shape the industry over the next 20 years. Leading organisations will document outcomes to assemble a reference document with action points for the next two decades.

What Is Renewable Energy And Why Is It So Important?

By Anna Kucirkova

Since the energy crisis of the 1970’s, Americans have been searching for ways to use our natural resources safely and efficiently. And since the release of the documentary An Inconvenient Truth in 2006, buzzwords and catchphrases like global warming, climate change, renewable energy, and sustainable energy have become a part of the American lexicon.

But what does all this really mean? What is science and what is hype?

Regardless of political passion or environmental principles, everyone can agree that treating our ecology with respect is the key to maintaining our ecosystems.

Understanding renewable energy, as well as why it’s so important, is the starting place for maintaining our earth.

What is Non-Renewable Energy?

First, let’s talk about the difference between renewable and non-renewable energy. By definition, non-renewable energy has a finite supply, meaning one day, we will run out of the source.

The majority of non-renewable energy sources are fossil fuels such as oil, coal, and natural gas. The key element in fossil fuels is carbon. Fossil fuels formed from 300-360 million years ago, and its this obscenely long period required for the creation of fossil fuels in nature that makes them non-renewable.

Fossil fuels all formed essentially the same way. The landscape of the Earth in prehistoric times was completely different, with widespread, shallow seas and swampy areas dominating the landscape. The plant life in the ancient wetlands absorbed energy from the sun and drifted to the bottom of the wetlands upon death.

After millions of years of heat and pressure from the seabed, fossil fuels were formed (coal, oil, and natural gas). Today, we tap into underground reservoirs of these fossil fuels in all parts of the world.

When we use fossil fuels, by burning, they produce carbon compounds like carbon dioxide and other gases that damage the environment. Air, water and land pollution can all be effects when we use fossil fuels.

Understanding Non-Renewable Sources of Energy

Humans have known that fossil fuels are a valued source of energy for generations, and we use them for two primary reasons:

  • We can inexpensively extract them from the Earth
  • They are easily transportable to any location

But, when fuels like oil and coal burn, they release pollutants into the ecosystem, with each of the fossil fuels having its own distinctive footprint.


Humans mine coal in one of two ways: surface mining and underground mining.

Surface mining reaches coal located near the earth’s surface, but getting to that coal creates problems in the environment. Trees and soil are removed by the mining companies, which can and will destroy entire habitats.

Underground mining harvests coal located deep within the Earth, sometimes up to 300 meters (1,000 feet) deep. Miners move through the mineshafts on elevators, operate heavy machinery to cut the coal out of the Earth, and send the coal to be processed above ground. Miners do dangerous work. Slicing coal from the earth releases dangerous gases, which can cause explosions or endanger miners with polluted air.

Nearly one-half of the electricity in America is derived from coal. When coal burns, it leaves “byproducts” that we also use to make cement, roads, plastics, and other valuable items.

Oil (Petroleum)

Petroleum is found beneath underground rock formations, and there are some locations, even right here in America, where oil bubbles out of the ground. However, the majority of the earth’s oil is deep underground. In fact, it is so deep that we have to drill through the earth to bring it to the surface.

Oil rigs have the capability of extracting oil 24/7/365, and a successful oil rig can produce oil for decades. Offshore drilling, under the ocean floor, must be done from an oil platform.

After the oil has been taken out of the earth, it is refined. Oil contains lots of chemicals other than carbon and refining the oil cleanses it of these chemicals.

One-half of the world’s oil is refined to become gasoline. The remainder is processed and used in liquid products (nail polish or rubbing alcohol), or solid products (water pipes, shoes, crayons, roofing, vitamin capsules).

Natural Gas

Natural gas is also found in underground reservoirs a few hundred meters down, and it primarily consists of methane. There is such an abundance of natural gas underground that it is measured in million, billion, or trillion cubic meters. To get natural gas from the ground, companies often drill down into in rock formations where the gas is trapped.

Some companies, to harvest their veins of gas, use “hydraulic fracturing,” or fracking. Fracking uses high-pressure water that splits the rocks underground, and this splitting frees the natural gas stuck in the rock formations. For harder rocks, the companies send acid down the well to dissolve the rock.

Natural gas is primarily used for cooking and heating. Believe it or not, it can also be burned to generate electricity. Natural gas can also be transformed into a liquid, called liquid natural gas (LNG). While still a fossil fuel, LNG is much cleaner when burned.

The Problem With Fossil Fuels

More and more, we’re beginning to see that our dependence on fossil fuels is problematic.

First and foremost, we’re eventually going to run out of them. When that happens, we will absolutely need alternative ways to generate power.

Second, harvesting fossil fuels often creates huge amounts of damage to the environment. The more we rely on them, the more damage we end up causing to precious ecosystems.

Finally, burning fossil fuels releases huge amounts of pollutants into the atmosphere. We’re constantly pumping out toxic gases from our cars and factories, and these gases are depleting the ozone layer and contributing to global warming.

Clearly, we need an alternative.

What is that alternative? Renewable resources of energy.

Examples of Renewable Resources

Renewable energy is harnessed from natural processes which replenish themselves in a time that is equal to or faster than how quickly they are consumed. We can create usable energy from the sun, geothermal heat, the wind, hydropower, ocean resources, solid biomass, biogas and liquid biofuels.

Technologies and equipment have been developed over the past few decades to harness these natural resources. These renewable forms of energy can produce electricity, industrial heat, thermal energy, and alternative fuels without destroying the environment. The four most commonly used are solar, geothermal, wind, and hydropower.


There are currently two solar technologies that involve electrical or mechanical equipment – and they are becoming more common. Solar panels are used to heat air and water we use in buildings. Solar photovoltaic technology uses solar cells to convert sunlight into electricity.


Geothermal energy is captured from the heat stored under the earth’s surface or from the absorbed heat in the atmosphere and oceans. Geothermal energy can be harnessed from naturally occurring underground steam, which is processed into electricity.


Wind has kinetic energy that can be converted into mechanical energy or electricity. In parts of the country, immense turbines with large propellers have appeared as ‘wind farms’ located strategically where wind energy is predictable and close to existing electrical grids.


The natural flow of water also offers kinetic power that can harnessed as energy. Hydroelectricity is currently the dominant energy produced from flowing water. Just as wind energy is based on the air currents, in hydroelectricity, the water flow is directed at turbine blades, which spin and cause an electrical generator connected to the turbine to spin and generate electricity.

Why Renewable Energy?

We can see through our history with fossil fuels that the by-products of burning oil, coal, and natural gas are more dangerous to the environment than they are valuable. There are other fossil fuels (nuclear and biomass) that do not present the threats of burning oil, coal, or natural gases; however, they are far more expensive to produce.

Nuclear energy requires the use of Uranium 235 (U-235), which is incredibly rare. Though there are rich deposits in the United States, it is incredibly difficult to mine.

Biomass (burning of wood, corn, soy, or other plants) is only renewable if those who use them are good stewards of the land and continue producing them through planting trees, or farming corn or soy.

In an effort to encourage the population to seek out renewable resources for energy consumption, state governments, as well as the federal government, have established policies for renewable energy use, including monetary incentives.

One of these is a tax incentive for purchasing electric vehicles. In states with higher pollution rates, these vehicles are great options to reduce emissions that come from the burning of gasoline and pollute the air.

The Future of Energy

While many Americans are often befuddled or baffled by the energy debate, there are future changes that will help rebuild and repair the environment people have so critically damaged.

It is in everyone’s best interest to take advantage of renewable energy options and participate in the incentive programs that will help restore our land to one of cleaner air and water, and a thriving, natural landscape.

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