The Final Step Toward Energy Independence

Renewable energy has become an increasingly popular solution to the growing scarcity of oil. However, as the field of renewable energy remains a relatively new phenomenon, there are many commonly-held misconceptions out there. One popular opinion is that installing renewable energy delivery systems will solve the world's energy problems on its own. However, there are several steps that must be accomplished before a household, business or community is prepared to switch over to renewable energy.

The Department of Agricultural and Biological Engineering at Penn State describes the process of energy independence as a pyramid. Renewable energy is the top of the pyramid, and needs to be supported by steps such as reducing energy consumption through conservation efforts, improving energy efficiency of buildings and appliances, as well as quantifying the demand for energy in a certain area.  The Energy Pyramid illustrates the steps necessary to secure the success of any energy independence initiave and where renewable energy plays a role. Additionally, the Energy Conservation page of this website provides resources and information helpful for the start of an energy independence project.

Use the links below to discover more about other common misconceptions, methods to implement or general information about each type of renewable fuel, or scroll down for more links not pertaining to any specific fuel type.

Select a fuel type for more information:

Wind

Click here for more information about wind energy, windmills, and turbines and their feasability

Wind

 

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Solar

Click here for more information regarding solar panels, installation, and requirements

Solar

 

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Geothermal

Click here for more information regarding geothermal systems and their function

Geothermal

 

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Biofuels

Click here for more information regarding biofuels, biomass, and their uses on and off the farm

Biofuels

 

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General Links on Renewables

Pennsylvania Renewable Energy Directory

This directory, developed by St Francis University's Renewable Energy Center, provides information about firms installing wind, solar, geothermal, biomass, and hydro technology across PA.

 

US Department of Energy Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy

The Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) works to strengthen the United States' energy security, environmental quality, and economic vitality in public-private partnerships. This site tracks current program details as they are put in action and projected for their ten renewable energy advancement and implementation programs.

 

Interstate Renewable Energy Council
IREC emphasizes education and outreach, stakeholder coordination, technical assistance, workforce development, the adoption and implementation of uniform guidelines and standards, consumer protection and building networks to share experiences and information. This site records the movement and organization of the advancement of renewable energy resources.

 

PPL Customers Granted Permission to Purchase Alternative Energy Credits

On August 6, 2009, the PA PUC approved PPL Electric Utilities Corporation's plan to offer customers the opportunity to invest in alternative energy through purchasing Alternative Energy Credits. The above is the press release with details about the plan. Further details are forthcoming.

 

Feed in Tariff Information

Several European countries, and more recently the Canadian province of Ontario, have adopted a simple yet powerful strategy to expand renewable energy. It's called a feed in tariff: a mandated, long-term premium price for renewable energy paid by the local electric utility. Evidence shows that the tariff achieves high results at a low cost. Examine this policy brief, developed by the New Rules Project, to review the results.


National Renewable Energy Laboratory
The NREL is the US Department of Energy's primary tool for research and development of renewable and efficient energy technologies. This site provides information about the science and technology, application, general use, and related policy development of renewable and efficient energy.