RENEWABLE ENERGY AND
ENERGY EFFICIENCY TECHNOLOGIES
In all parts of the world, renewable energy and energy efficiency technologies provide solutions to a multitude of energy supply and demand challenges. Quality of life is dramatically improved through increased access to non-polluting sources of energy and reduce urban migration. Renewable energy is generated with indigenous resources, which eliminates the need to import fuels or extract finite fossil fuels, and increases economic independence. The production, implementation, operation and maintenance of renewable energy applications are labor-intensive, resulting in job growth for both U.S. and host country partners. Systems in place in over 150,000 villages worldwide demonstrate that renewables are often the least-cost energy option for a broad range of applications and sites. Finally, the technologies are scalable from a few watts to utility-scale power, thereby avoiding the risks associated with long-term planning of centralized power generating plants.
U.S. industry is the world leader in renewable energy and energy efficiency technology research, demonstration and commercialization. Our firms represent a broad range of technologies, products and services that can meet virtually any user need for energy -- from small-scale remote applications to grid-connected power. U.S. industry manufactures everything from turnkey systems to individual components, and also offers a spectrum of services including system designers, integrators, distributors, and operation and maintenance specialists.
Biomass energy is either steam or electricity resulting from the combustion or anaerobic digestion of organic material or wastes. In the U.S., wood waste is used to fuel utility power plants as large as 80 megawatts; biogas, with quality comparable to natural gas, is being collected at over 120 landfills; and there are more than 60 ethanol-manufacturing facilities.
Energy Efficiency employs the use of different technologies to produce improved building materials, household appliances, lights and other energy-consuming products. Increasing energy efficiency is an effective way to reduce dependence on foreign oil, reduce costs to consumers, balance environmental concerns with economic development, and enhance energy security. In 1990, the U.S. used less energy and less oil than it did in 1977, despite an increase in population and economic growth.
Geothermal energy is the natural heat energy of the earth contained in underground rocks and fluids that can be tapped for heat or electrical generation. In the U.S., over 100,000 separate facilities use geothermal heat for residential, industrial and commercial applications, including 63 power plants providing 2,780 megawatts.
Hydropower harnesses the energy of falling water in a generator to produce electricity. Ten percent of the U.S. electricity supply, or 94,000 megawatts, comes from hydropower. Hydropower facilities also provide irrigation for farmers, supply water to villages and cities, control flooding, and increase and protect navigation.
Photovoltaic (PV) cells convert sunlight directly into electricity using a thin layer of semiconductor material attached to metal contacts. The fast-growing markets for photovoltaic systems include utilities, rural electrification, telecommunications, lighting and military applications. The U.S. leads the world in the manufacturing of PV technology. Since the early-1980s, the U.S. private sector has invested more than $2 billion in research and commercialization.
Solar Thermal energy uses the heat of the sun to heat water or air, or to make electricity. More than one million buildings in the U.S. use active solar water-heating or space-heating systems, and it is estimated by the U.S. Department of Energy that solar collectors should account for about 200 trillion British Thermal Units (0.2 quads) by the year 2000. Parabolic troughs or dishes and central receivers (currently providing over 400 megawatts) can furnish electricity for a broad range of sizes and temperatures, and parabolic troughs can be used for industrial process heat and steam.
Wind energy conversion systems (WECS) convert the kinetic energy of wind into electric power. More than 16,000 utility-intertied WECS have been installed in California since 1982, with an installed capacity of 1,700 megawatts. Other applications include wind/diesel hybrids and rural electrification systems for village power, water pumping, desalination, telecommunications, and refrigeration.
Written by: EcoMall
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