energy is an umbrella term that refers to any
source of usable energy intended to replace fuel sources without the
undesired consequences of the replaced fuels. Typically, official uses
of the term, such as qualification for governmental incentives, exclude
fossil fuels and nuclear energy whose undesired consequences are high
carbon dioxide emissions, the major contributing factor of global
warming according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, and
difficulties of radioactive waste disposal.
Over the years, the nature of what was regarded alternative energy sources has changed considerably, and today because of the variety of energy choices and differing goals of their advocates, defining some energy types as "alternative" is highly controversial.
The term "alternative" presupposes a set of undesirable energy technologies against which "alternative energies" are opposed. As such, the list of energy technologies excluded is an indicator of what problems that the alternative technologies are intended to address. Controversies regarding dominant forms of energy and their alternatives have a long history.
In his State of the Union Address for 2007, President George W. Bush called for a 22% increase in federal grants for research and development of alternative energy.
However, in a speech he gave soon after, he said to those assembled, I recognize that there has been some interesting mixed signals when it comes to funding.
Where the mixed signals were coming from concerned the fact that at the same time the President was calling on more government backing for alternative energy research and development, the NREL - the National Renewable Energy Laboratory of Golden, Colardo - was laying off workers and contractors left and right. Apparently, the Laboratory got the hint, because soon after the State of the Union Address, everyone was re-hired.
The second speech of the President's was actually given at the NREL. There is almost unanimous public support for the federal backing through research grants, tax breaks, and other financial incentives of research and development of alternative energy sources.
The NREL is the nation's leading component of the National Bioenergy Center, a “virtual” center that has no central bricks and mortar office. The NREL's raison d'etre is the advancing of the US Department of Energy's and the United States' alternative energy objectives.
The laboratory's field researchers and staff scientists, in the words of Laboratory Director Dan Arvizu, “support critical market objectives to accelerate research from scientific innovations to market-viable alternative energy solutions. At the core of this strategic direction are NREL's research and technology development areas.
These areas span from understanding renewable resources for energy, to the conversion of these resources to renewable electricity and fuels, and ultimately to the use of renewable electricity and fuels in homes, commercial buildings, and vehicles.”
The federally-backed Laboratory directly helps along the United States' objectives for discovering renewable alternative fuels for powering our economy and our lifestyles.
The NREL is set up to have several areas of expertise in alternative energy research and development. It spearheads research and development efforts into renewable sources of electricity; these would include such things as solar power, wind power, biomass power, and geothermal power.
It also spearheads research and development of renewable fuels for powering our vehicles such as biomass and biodiesel fuels and hydrogen fuel cells.
Then, it seeks to develop plans for integrated system engineering; this includes bringing alternative energy into play within buildings, electrical grids and delivery systems, and transportation infrastructures.
The Laboratory is also set up for strategic development and analysis of alternative energy objectives through the forces of economics, market analysis and planning, and alternative energy investment portfolios structuring.
The NREL is additionally equipped with a Technology Transfer Office. This Office supports laboratory scientists and engineers in the practical application of and ability to make a living from their expertise and the technologies they develop.
NREL's research and development staff and its facilities are recognized for their remarkable prowess by private industry, which is reflected in the hundreds of collaborative projects and licensed technologies that the Laboratory now has with both public and private partners.
More ArticlesInvestment Into Alternative Energy Research And Development
... green economy will not harm the environment or the quality of our air like fossil fuel burning does. We can become the energy independent nation that we need to be by cutting away our need to import oil, especially oil that is produced by anti-American nations such as Iran. Ultimately, renewable energies ...
... 2007 Federal Budget includes $150 million (a $59 million increase over the Federal Budget for 2006) to help with the development of biofuels derived from agricultural waste products such as wood chips, corn stalks, and switch grass. Researchers tell us that furthering the cause of research into cellulose-based ...
... electricity to light and heat our homes. In the creation of a geothermal power plant, a well would be dug where there is a good source of magma or heated fluid. Piping would be fitted down into the source, and the fluids forced to the surface to produce the needed steam. The steam would turn a turbine ...
... Power says of itself, we have a long and successful history of developing clean energy facilities. Since 1982 we have developed, owned and operated hydroelectric plants, municipal waste projects, coal-fired generating facilities and clean gas generation and energy recovery facilities. We are proud to ...
... more productive. As far as the aforementioned cost, the price of producing solar-generated energy per watt hour has come down to $4.00 at the time of this writing. Just 17 years ago, it was nearly double that cost. Solar powered electricity generation is certainly good for the environment, as this alternative ...
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