Wednesday, July 06, 2011

A Bright Future for Renewable Energy?

Some positive signs for renewable energy.

Joanna Schroeder reporting on what could be a tipping point for renewable energy Renewable Energy Production Surpasses Nuclear:
Renewable energy production has surpassed nuclear energy production in the U.S. according to the latest issue of Monthly Energy Review published by the Energy Information Administration. Production of alternative energy is also beginning to close in on domestic oil production.

During the first three months of 2011, energy produced from renewable energy sources (biomass/biofuels, geothermal, solar, hydro, wind) generated 2.245 quadrillion Btus of energy equating to 11.73 percent of U.S. energy production. During this same time period, renewable energy production surpassed nuclear energy power by 5.65 percent. In total, energy produced from renewables is 77.15 percent of that from domestic crude oil production.

When looking at all energy sectors, production of renewable energy has increased by a little over 15 percent when compared to first quarter of 2010, and by more than 25 percent when compared to the first quarter of 2009. Of this total, biomass/biofuels accounted for approximately 48 percent of this total followed by hydropower at 35.41 percent, wind at 12.87 percent, geothermal at 2.45 percent and lastly solar at 1.16 percent.

The growth in renewable energy coupled with initiatives such as this summer camp hosted by FLATE - The Florida Advanced Technological Education Center point to a bright future.

FLATE Focus: Alternative Energy: It’s Hot!:
... organizations like FLATE are stepping up education and workforce development efforts to help meet Florida’s 2020 energy strategy (More information at FESC). This summer FLATE held, for the first time, energy camps for teachers and students. The camps were held June 20-23 at the South Shore Campus of Hillsborough Community College, and involved 14 students from Beth Shields Middle School in Ruskin, and 17 high school teachers from 12 schools in Hillsborough County, FL.

The energy camp for students, a pilot project funded by the AVID (Advancement Via Individual Determination) program, was funded through FLATE and FESC (Florida Energy Systems Consortium) a consortium of Florida college and universities established by the Florida Legislature, and was part of a network of energy-related camps that are being offered simultaneously at Tallahassee Community College, and Florida State College at Jacksonville. The camp featured a number of hands-on activities that included: greenhouse gas simulation exercises; demonstrations of Jensen electric generator; photovoltaic, magnets/magnetic fields demonstrations, and demonstrations of wind and fuel cell car technologies. Emely Ramirez and Brian Sanchez, seventh graders at Beth Shields Middle School said the activities were “fun and cool, yet challenging.” Other hands-on activities included constructing a simple motor, a windmill generator, and conducting a test run baking cookies using a solar oven.

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