Renewable energy jobs

Renewable energy uses natural energy to generate electricity or fuels. Latest estimates puts global electricity generated from renewable sources at around 19% and rising. Renewable energy can be divided into three main areas:

  • Traditional Biomass – Energy production through biological material derived from living organisms such as plants.
  • Hydroelectricity – The production of electricity generated by gravitational force acting on falling or flowing water.
  • New Renewable – This includes the production of energy through geothermal, wind, small hydro, solar, biofuels, and modern biomass, and is the fastest growing sector.

Renewable energy now makes up more than 20% of energy supply in over 30 countries. The main sources of renewable energy are described below:

Wind energy

Wind energy is produced using wind turbines which convert the kinetic energy created by the wind into electricity. The largest onshore wind farm, The Alta Wind Energy Centre (AWEC) is located in the Tehachapi Mountains of California’s Mojave Desert. The annual production in 2011 was estimated to be at least 4376 GWh.

Hydropower

Hydropower is electricity that is created from the energy of moving water. Hydropower is one of the cheapest ways of generating electricity today as the energy source of flowing water is free and renewed yearly by rainfall and snow. The Rheidol Hydroelectric scheme in Wales is the largest of its kind in England and Wales. The annual production there is approximately 85 GWh.

Biomass energy

Biomass is material that comes from recently living micro organisms and plants, energy is produced when biomass is burned, with common sources including wood chips, manure and waste. The Alholmens Kraft power plant, in Finland, is the world’s largest bio-fuelled power plant, it uses wood-based bio fuels as well as peat. The annual heat production there is 700 GWh and the annual electricity production is 1300 GWh.

Solar energy

Solar energy involves using solar panels also called photovoltaic cells to convert sunlight into usable energy or solar thermal panels which are used as a heating method. The Middle East’s largest solar energy plant, Shams solar power station, can be found in Abu Dhabi in the area of Masdar. The annual production there is 210 GWh.

Tidal power

Tidal energy is produced using the energy from the ocean during the rise and fall of the tides. The Rance Tidal Power Station is the world’s first tidal power station, it is located on the estuary of the Rance River in Brittany. The plant has two energy sources including river current energy from the Rance River and tidal energy from the English Channel. Annual output there is approximately 600 GWh.

Geothermal energy

Geothermal energy is generated using the earth’s heat. Geothermal plants operate using the steam produced from the reservoirs of hot water below the Earth’s surface, to rotate turbines which generate electricity. One of the world’s largest geothermal power stations is the Hellisheidi power station, located on an active volcanic ridge in Iceland. The annual production there is 2300 GWh.

Careers in renewable energy

  • Mechanical engineer jobs
  • Electrical engineer jobs
  • Civil engineer jobs
  • Marine engineer jobs
  • Construction manager jobs
  • Electrical engineer jobs
  • Project manager jobs

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