Massive global investment in the alternative energy industry has produced a tipping point: The cost per kilo-watt hour of electricity produced from renewable energy sources is now lower than the cost of generating power from fossil fuels. A series of reports details the tremendous cost savings that will be achieved by employing renewable energy and the complementary success it will bring in slowing global warming.
Additional Benefits of Shifting to Alternative Energy
Lower costs and a cleaner environment are exciting advantages of the shift to renewable energy. Other benefits include:
- Mass creation of new jobs with good pay
- Increased energy availability throughout the world improving living standards, healthcare, education and more
- Job demand creating new opportunities for workers to gain new skills
- Reduced carbon emissions slowing the pace of climate change
- Cleaner drinking water through reduced water pollution and the ability to drill wells in remote areas
- Improved air quality through steep reduction in fossil fuel emissions
The Demand for Equipment Changes in Alternative Energy Production
As the sources of energy change, the equipment used in its production must evolve too. This is highlighted in the valve industry where adaptations are being made to customize valve design for each type of alternative energy production.
- In solar thermal power plants, control valves are designed and manufactured with extended, protective bonnets to maintain high performance despite extreme heat and the use of abrasive, corrosive molten salt.
- In energy production using highly reactive and explosive hydrogen, valve design must be precise and dependable to close properly with no margin for leaks.
- In geothermal energy production, valves with superior heat resistance are required for all three major methods – the dry steam process converting steam from geothermal reservoirs into electricity, the flash steam process using pressurised water as hot as 204 C to power surface generators that produce electricity and the binary cycle process employing a steam or water reservoir and turbines to generate electricity.
Keeping Up with Future Trends
The growing demand for energy independence using renewable sources points to more of the same in the next several decades. Any equipment manufacturer intending to be part of the ongoing revolution must anticipate and meet the demand for evolving technology and equipment needed to harness current and developing renewable energy sources.