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Renewable Energy



Early  energy  sources  were  simple;  fire  was  discovered  to  heat  things,  and  then along came conversion – such as fire under a kettle producing steam. But times have  changed,  and  the  impact  of  using  non-renewable  sources  of  energy,  or fossil  fuels,  is  one  that  we  can  no  longer  afford  to  ignore.  Putting  the  climate change debate aside, there are real commercial opportunities that businesses and governments can, and should, consider, as Forbes reports:

 Environmental  concerns  about  the  consumption  of  energy  are  nothing  new. What's changed in the last few years is the maturation of new, and arguably more sustainable,  energy  sources  that  can  be  used  to  power  our  lives.  Evident  for  a while, wind and solar stand poised to reshape energy markets.


The  reason  for  this  is  clear  once  you  take  a  look  at  any  major  city.  The  social, health, and environmental risks caused by fossil fuels are undeniable – but so too are the benefits of the booming clean energy sector. As CleanTechnica explains, this is why much of the world is working to move in a different direction:

 As  costs  of  solar  and  wind  power  keep  falling,  a  global  transition  to  100% renewable  energy  is  a  reality  which  is  unfolding  much  faster  than  skeptics think. Wind and solar are already the cheapest sources of electricity, and storage technology  will  soon  follow.  Disruptive  technology  improvements  in  the renewable energy sector as well as the search for real solutions to climate change, air pollution, poverty and the refugee crisis will accelerate the process. 

 Renewable  energy  is  generated  from  natural  processes  that  are  continuously replenished.  This  includes  sunlight,  geothermal  heat,  wind,  tides,  water,  and various forms of biomass which cannot be exhausted. What’s more, with easier access and lower set-up and management costs, it’s now a more appealing choice for many, as NDRC notes:

 Lower  oil  prices  and  the  prospect  of  a  diminishing  demand  for  fossil  fuels  are prompting a serious rethinking by energy companies. Given larger concerns about local air pollution and climate change, some or all of these steps may be justified.

 As governments worldwide work to find ways to collectively improve their use of renewables,  agreements  like  the  Paris  Accord  go  a  long  way  in  ensuring  a healthier planet for future generations. In a recent report from BNEF, some may be surprised to see the names at the top of the list:  

China has held on to its spot as most attractive renewable energy country, leaving room for India to step into second place as the United States stalled at third due to new political headwinds. Though still the world’s largest coal consumer, China is also the largest investor in green energy accounting for nearly one quarter of the world’s total $329 billion of new energy investment.

 Along  with  China  and  India,  countries  like  France,  Germany,  Norway,  and  Britain are taking a further step by banning gas-powered cars by as early as 2025 and moving  toward  Electric  Vehicles  or  EVs.  It’s  just  one  of  many  remarkable developments around EVs that heralds the arrival of a revolution - sooner than most analysts expected. From Vox magazine:


How fast that revolution will unfold is the source of much dispute and uncertainty. And  it  matters  a  great  deal  to  oil  demand,  electricity  demand,  greenhouse  gas emissions, air pollution, and global trade flows. In many ways, questions around EVs  parallel  those  around  renewable  energy,  but  there’s  a  lot  of  hype,  wildly conflicting projections, and plenty of risks and pitfalls ahead.

 While  it’s  important  that  governments  lead  by  example,  it’s  encouraging  to  see businesses  step  up  to  the  plate  as  well.  Following  Puerto  Rico’s  devastating Hurricane Maria, companies like Tesla, Duracell, and Virgin jumped in and began sending  battery  and  solar  supplies  to  stand  in  for  the  aging  power  grid.  As Futurism explains:

 Tesla’s  plan  is  to  install  a microgrid  -  a  distributed  network  of  batteries  and solar panels that operates independently of the standard electric grid. The solution should prove more resilient to natural disasters and of course, it would be a lot cleaner than their current fossil fuel-based power generation. 

 Few  would  argue  that  a  cleaner  planet  is  in  everyone’s  best  interest.  The technology and economics are too strong, and there’s the political and social will to make the transition quickly. As PRI concludes, investment in renewable energy technologies  will  go  a  long  way  in  addressing  environmental  concerns  and reducing society’s dependence on fossil fuels:

 The  benefits  of  all  this  is  we  eliminate  four  to  seven  million  premature  deaths from air pollution each year that are caused by combustion, primarily from fossil fuels. We can eliminate global warming. Even if you don’t believe in it, it’s there and we can eliminate it.




 Conversion: The process of changing or causing something to change from one form to another; “The company is undergoing a conversion to a new computer system.

 Kettle: A metal container in which to boil liquids, cook foods, etc.

 Non-renewable:  Existing  in  finite  quantity  and  not  capable  of  being  replenished; “Fossil fuels are non-renewable and rapidly running out.”

 Fossil fuels: a natural fuel such as coal or gas, formed in the geological past from the  remains  of  living  organisms;  Burning fossil  fuels uses  oxygen  and  produces carbon dioxide.”

 Climate change: Change occurring in the Earth's overall climate, now regarded as a result of human activity and resulting generally in global warming.

 Environmental concerns: Activities that impact the air, water, and soil quality.

 Consumption:  The  action  of  using  up  a  resource;  "Industrialized  countries  should reduce their energy consumption."

 Mature/Maturation: The action or process of becoming more mature or developed; “Now  that  I’m  more  mature  and  experienced  in  the  field,  I’m  able  to  find  better career opportunities.

 Sustainable: Able to continue over a period of time; “A large international meeting was held with the aim of promoting sustainable development in all countries.”

 Evident: clearly seen, understood, or obvious.

 Wind power: Power obtained by harnessing the energy of the wind.

 Solar power: Power obtained by harnessing the energy of the sun's rays.

 To stand poised: Completely still or not moving, but ready to do something; “The company is poised to launch its new advertising campaign.

 Undeniable: Something that is certainly true and unable be disputed; “Roberta’s skills as a team leader are undeniable; that’s why she’s so valuable to the company.”

 Booming: A period of sudden economic growth, especially one that results in a lot of money being made; “The market for shared offices is absolutely booming in the last years. It’s a great opportunity for a lot of self-employed professionals.”

Clean  energy/Green  energy:  Energy  that  can  be  produced  in  a  way  that  protects the  natural  environment,  for  example  by  using  wind,  water,  or  the  sun;  “Most  of their green energy comes from wind farms.”

 Renewable  energy:  energy  that  is  produced  using  the  sun,  wind,  etc.,  or  from crops, rather than using fuels such as oil or coal; “With sky-high energy prices and lower investment costs, renewable energy is becoming more popular.”

 Unfolding:  Events  or  information  which  gradually  develop  or  are  revealed;  "The situation unfolding in Spain should be concerning to all global citizens."

 Skeptics: A person who doubts the truth or value of an idea or belief; “People say that relations between the China and the USA will improve, but I'm a skeptic.”

 Disruptive  technology:  A  technology  that  significantly  alters  or  changes  the  way that  businesses  operate;  “Virgin’s  new  Hyperloop  transportation  system  is  an example of disruptive technology that will change the way we travel.”

 Pollution:  The  presence  in  or  introduction  into  the  environment  of  a  substance which has harmful or poisonous effects; “Air pollution is estimated to cause around 7 million deaths per year.” 

 Poverty:  The  state  of  being  extremely  poor;  "Millions  of  families  are  living  in complete poverty."

 Refugee (crisis): Someone who has been forced to escape their country because of persecution,  war,  or  violence;  “It's  estimated  that  there  are  22.5  million  refugees today, and many of them are women and children.”

 To accelerate the process: To make something speed up or happen more quickly; “We’ll need to accelerate the reporting process to meet our deadline.”

 Natural processes: A process existing in or produced by nature (rather than by the intent of human beings. )

 Replenished:  To  fill  something  up  again;  “Our  office  supplies  haven’t  been replenished in ages; I need a new highlighter!”


Sunlight:  The  light  that  comes  from  the  sun;  “As  the  sunlight  shone  through  the office window, all I could think about was how far away my next vacation was.”

 Geothermal:  The  use  of  heat  coming  from  inside  the  earth;  “Geothermal  energy does not involve burning of fossil fuels so it has little impact on the environment.” 

Tides: The daily rise and fall of sea levels; “Tides are created because the Earth and the moon are attracted to each other, just like magnets.”

 Biomass: Plant or animal materials that are suitable for using as fuel; “Food, wood, plants, and the organic waste of animals are all forms of biomass.”

 Exhausted:  To  become  depleted  of  energy  or  supply;  “We’ve  exhausted  all  other possibilities. Our only chance to save the business is to cut some more positions.”

 Diminishing demand: To become less important, valuable, or impressive.

 To prompt a rethink: To be caused to think about something again; “There must be a rethink of government policy toward this vulnerable group.”

 Justified: To believe that something is reasonable or acceptable; “Looking for a job in another company is completely justified, and you shouldn’t be punished for doing it.”

 Collectively:  Shared  by  every  member  of  a  group  of  people;  “I  was  the  project manager, but we worked on this project collectively.”

 Paris Accord/Agreement: An agreement between every country in the world, except the US and Syria, that sets out a global action plan to limit global warming to well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels.’

 To  go  a  long  way  in/toward  (doing  something):  To  be  very  helpful;  “The  money raised will go a long way toward providing essential food and medicine.”

 Leave  room:  To  provide  enough  remaining  space;  “Make  sure  you  leave  enough room at the end of the report for people to write some notes if necessary.”

 Political  headwinds:  A  force  or  challenge  in  the  direction  of  the  political  agenda  a government wants to implement.

 A  further  step:  An  additional  or  extra  movement  in  the  direction  of  a  goal;  “Your research is good, but you need to take it a further step if you really want to drive home your point.”

 To  ban:  To  forbid  or  refuse  to  allow  something;  “Certain  chemicals  have  been banned because of their damaging effect on the environment.”

Gas-powered: Equipment, usually a vehicle, that needs gasoline/petrol to operate.  

Electric Vehicles/EVs: An automobile powered by electricity. 

To herald: To be a sign that something important, and often good, is starting to happen; “This drug has been heralded as a major breakthrough in the fight against cancer.”

 Revolution:  A  change  in  the  way  a  country  is  governed,  usually  to  a  different political system and often using violence or war.

 Dispute:  An  argument  or  disagreement;  “They  have  been  unable  to  settle  the dispute over working conditions.” 

 Greenhouse  gas  emissions:  The  release  into  the  earth's  atmosphere  of  any  of various gases, especially carbon dioxide, that contribute to the greenhouse effect; “Global  warming  is  caused  by  human  activity,  specifically  the  emission  of  greenhouse gasses, according to a recent report.”

 Global trade flows: The buying and selling of goods and services between countries.

 Parallel: An event or situation that happens at the same time as and/or is similar to another  one;  “Parallel  experiments  are  being  conducted  at  our  offices  in  Rome, Edmonton, and London.”

 Hype: Something that is advertised or promoted a lot in order to generate a lot of attention;  “For  all  the  hype  when  they  first  came  on  to  the  market,  3D  printing hasn’t really taken off yet.”

 Wildly conflicting: Completely different or opposing; “Presidents Obama and Trump have wildly conflicting approaches to how they govern.”

 Pitfall:  A  likely  mistake  or  problem  in  a  situation;  “The  store  fell  into  one  of  the major pitfalls of small business, borrowing from suppliers by paying bills late.”

 To  step  up  to  the  plate:  To  take  action  when  something  needs  to  be  done,  even though this is difficult; “He took over the team when it became obvious no one else was going to step up to the plate.” 

 Devastating: Causing a lot of damage or destruction; “Losing our best negotiator to another  company  was  devastating  for  the  team,  but  we’ve  been  trying  to  stay focused and positive.”

 To jump in: To become involved in a situation very quickly; “Onlookers jumped in to break up the argument.”

 To stand in: To do someone else’s job temporarily while they are not available to do it; “Lorraine was ready to stand in if Helen got sick.”

 Power grid: A network that carries electricity from a power plant to the user. 

Microgrid: A small network of electricity users with a local source of supply.

 Distributed network: A network of electricity that is spread over a large area.

 Solar  panels:  A  device  that  changes  energy  from  the  sun  into  electricity;  “Solar panels are used to power satellites.”

 Resilient:  Able  to  quickly  return  to  a  previous  good  condition;  “Martina  is  a  very resilient person; even if she didn’t get this new job, she’ll keep working hard.”

 Natural disaster: A natural event such as a flood, earthquake, or tsunami that kills or injures a lot of people; “Europe's 2003 heat wave claimed more than 30,000  lives, making it the continent's largest natural disaster in 50 years.”

 To  be  in  everyone’s  best  interests:  For  the  benefit  or  advantage  of  most  people; “It’s a cool technology, but I think it’s in everyone’s best interests if we stop looking for new Virtual Reality projects if we’re not able to do it properly.”

 Political/social will: The wish or desire to do something that will affect everyone.

 To address concerns: To respond to someone's issues or worries; “We are going to respond to your concerns about this issue later in the day.”

 Dependence:  The  situation  in  which  you  need  something  in  order  to  continue existing or function properly; “The company needs to reduce its dependence on just one particular product.”

 Premature  deaths:  Deaths that  occur  before  a  person  reaches  an  expected  age (e.g. age 75) and are considered to be preventable.

 Air pollution: Harmful substances in the air, often consisting of waste from vehicles r  industry;  “In  2000,  it  was  estimated  that  air  pollution  from  various  sources contributed to 3 million deaths worldwide.”  

 Combustion:  The  process  of  burning;  “Cars  run  because  their  engines  use combustion to get the cylinders to fire.”

 Global warming: a gradual increase in world temperatures caused by gases, such as carbon dioxide, that are trapped in the air around the earth and stop heat escaping into  space;  “Scientists  fear  that  global  warming  has  gone  beyond  the  point  of  no return.”

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