The BP Oil Spill is a Reminder that Renewable Energy Alternatives Are Out There

Alternative Energy Sources

The traditional energy industry is having a rough month. Two massive oil spills in the Gulf of Mexico are shaming the cries of “Drill, Baby, Drill” into near deafening silence. Meanwhile, recent disasters in Kentucky and West Virginia have spotlighted the dangerous conditions inherent in the coal mining trade. These crises only serve to remind us that opportunities in the alternative energy sources are out there, and their dance card is not full yet. But if you were looking seriously at renewable energy alternatives for the first time, where should you be investing? Here are three great alternative energy sources you should check out.

Wind:

Last week’s federal approval of the first offshore wind farm, though controversial, offered a stark contrast between the narratives happening around our nation’s energy future. While the ocean and public sentiment turned black in the Gulf of Mexico, clean-power advocates, environmentalists and developers cheered the decision to open up the Cape Cod coastline to the alternative energy project. Critics mainly focused on the impact the bill would have on the bottom line, and potential side effects to the tourism industry. Still, similar proposals are underway throughout the Great Lakes and Northeast coast, including New Jersey which is offering commercial tours of proposed wind farm sites.

Electric:

In a sign of good things to come, the California Public Utilities Commission just voted to allow the state’s three major utilities to use natural-gas fuel cells which produce electricity from natural gas and biogas fuels. And FIAMM, one of the world’s largest battery manufacturers has just announced the creation of a new company called FZ Sonick which will work on developing new renewable energy alternative sodium batteries to the US of A. FIAMM’s ZEBRA division currently sells an advanced battery for use in electric vehicles, which are scheduled to power the first electric vehicle fleet of the European postal service.

Solar:

Today’s solar photovoltaic industry is booming, thanks to a combination of tax incentives and grants at both the state and national level, as well as lowered production costs and technology improvements. Nationwide, solar powered business grew 30% in 2009 from the year before, despite a recession and a credit crisis. In many markets, the solar systems are also connected to a utility grid in case of shortages, but by 2010, its estimated total solar photovoltaic connectivity will produce the equivalent energy to about 4 medium sized coal operations. As groups like Solar Power Partners continue to search for ways to provide electricity at a competitive price, as well as lobby for cap-and-trade or carbon tax systems to level the playing field with “dirty” energy companies, expect local government to continue to find innovative ways to invest in getting their community on the solar grid.

Looking for more information? A great resources is the new publication from the Center for Resource Solutions (CRS) entitled “Insights into the Renewable Energy Market: A Brief Overview of Procurement Trends, Drivers, and Impacts of Voluntary Commercial Purchasers.”

The Joshua Just Blog is written by Joshua Just, CEO and Founder of Diversified Investments. An experienced leader in the market place, Joshua Just has founded several successful firms in the areas of real estate, aviation, litigation & financial management.

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