Get Carried Away with Renewable Energy
It is an exciting time to be involved in the maturing U.S. renewable energy market. Solar is the fastest-growing energy sector, the use of biomass energy is on the rise, and wind energy has dramatically increased from a slow start in 2013.
“Next Generation Renewables” points out that up and coming renewable energy sources include algal oils, which can be used as fuel and in high-value goods used in health care and medical products. Resources that have become more visible include hydrokinetic technologies.
While these industries continue to ramp up to commercial-scale projects, more established renewable energy resources continue to make headway in the energy marketplace. For example, the solar energy industry has taken hits and has experienced slowdowns in the market; however, an industry report finds the share of global solar installations in the United States will reach a high of 13 percent in 2013. “Solar: Certain and Steady Growth Despite Challenges” outlines the industry’s bright outlook.
The wind energy sector’s future also looks strong, thanks to the surge of commitments by utility companies to enter long-term power purchase agreements. What’s more, the extension at the federal level of the Renewable Energy Production Tax Credit motivated wind farm developers to move forward with projects.
These tax credits were only extended until the end of the year. The hope is that the credits will be extended even further or be made permanent to maintain the momentum. In “Wind Energy Industry Ramps Back Up” it also becomes clear that wind energy is cost competitive with traditional energy resources, and sometimes is less expensive.
In this issue we also discuss the next generation of developments in the automotive industry. “New Tech Electrifies the Auto Industry” says now that the auto industry has regained its footing, technological advances are picking up speed in order to meet higher safety standards, higher fuel economy mandates, and changes in consumer expectations.
When it comes to meeting fuel economy mandates (54.5 miles per gallon by 2025), manufacturers are engaged in lowering the weight of light vehicles. A mixed-material car, where materials such as steel, aluminum and composites are used in combination to achieve the best results, are a solid approach to lightweighting vehicles. Read “Lightweighting Central to Autos Mass Reduction” to find out why this method may emerge as the largest single sector in the automotive design space for the next 15 years.