The demand for electrical engineers is on the rise in a nontraditional niche: renewable energy. With increasing concern about global warming, organizations are seeking cost-effective and ecofriendly solutions to generating power. Electrical engineers are the experts behind smooth-running electrical systems. But common myths and intense lobbying have hampered renewable energy development in some areas. In fact, anti-alternative energy rhetoric has placed a “chilling effect” on electrical engineers seeking to pursue work in alternative energy fields.
Myth #1: Renewable energy is too expensive
One of the top renewable energy myths is that it’s too expensive. Coal-generated electricity runs as low as 3 cents per kWh, according to research published in the Journal of Environmental Studies and Sciences. But the hidden costs of energy produced by coal including pollution, carbon dioxide emissions, and CFC toxic material, which gear up global warming, are not included in this cost calculation. By contrast, solar and renewable energy methods, although they generate a higher cost per kWh, do not emit toxins. Therefore, they have no hidden costs, making them cheaper than they initially appear and more stable in price.
Myth #2: Renewable energy isn’t sustainable
Another renewable energy myth is that it’s not sustainable. Sunshine isn’t constant in areas of extreme winter weather. The variability of solar power is one of the most problematic points for sustainability. However, smart electrical engineering combined with minimal backup power from electrical grid operators can solve this problem. Investment in transmission lines has picked up speed, providing wider power access.
Myth #3: Renewable energy isn’t good for the environment
This is probably the most prominent myth about renewable energy. Many believe, for instance, that wind mills can harm birds. However, appropriate planning based on migratory patterns can alleviate this concern. In addition, noise pollution from wind mills is an issue for some, but the same can be said for the toxins and waste that coal and nuclear plants produce.
Where does that leave electrical engineers?
The demand for electrical engineers in the renewable energy world will continue to rise as developed countries like the U.S. and Japan aim to increase renewable energy production. Since electrical engineers excel at making quality power system designs that can improve business operations and curb costs, their role is essential in overcoming the challenges inherent in generating renewable energy.
Steward Hudson is a researcher/blogger with experience writing for multiple industries including health, energy, finance, and more. He currently writes for Currentsolutionspc.com.