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Oswego Career Ladders - Energy

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Energy

There are eight career areas explored in the energy industry:

Fossil Fuel: Fossil fuels currently provide more than 85% of all the energy consumed in the United States, nearly two-thirds of our electricity, and virtually all of our transportation fuels. It is likely that the nation’s reliance on fossil fuels will actually increase despite development of new renewable and nuclear technologies.

Nuclear Power: There are two kinds of careers in Nuclear Energy – Careers in Design and Careers in Operations and Maintenance. Careers in Design involve designing plant systems and equipment for optimum performance. Careers in Operation and Maintenance involve operating and maintaining a nuclear power plant .

Hydropower: Uses the energy of flowing water to produce electricity, is the largest and least expensive source of renewable energy produced in the United States today. n fact, hydropower now generates approximately 10 percent of the electricity used in our country .

Wind Power: People have been using energy from the wind for hundreds of years. Today, the windmill’s modern equivalent—a wind turbine—can use the wind’s energy to generate electricity. A number of large, utility-scale wind turbines can form wind farms that generate enough electricity for tens of thousands of homes.

Solar: In 1839, French physicist Edmund Bequerel discovered that sunlight could produce electricity (known as the photoelectric effect). This has led to the invention of numerous technologies for capturing the sun’s energy. The most common technologies produced and used in the United States today include photovoltaics, concentrating solar power (also known as solar thermal electric) systems, solar hot water systems, and passive solar building design.

Geothermal: Heat from the earth, called geothermal energy, is yet another renewable energy resource that people have used over the years. Geothermal energy heats water seeping into underground reservoirs, which can then be tapped for a variety of uses. The energy produced from high temperature reservoirs (225° to 600°F) can spin a turbine to generate electricity.

Bioenergy: The energy stored in biomass (organic matter) is called bioenergy. While we have always used wood and other biomass for heat, the production of electricity and fuels has grown from virtually nothing 20 years ago to what it is today, helping bioenergy become second only to hydropower as the largest source of renewable energy in the world.

Fuel cell: Fuel cells have the potential to revolutionize the way we power our nation, offering cleaner, more-efficient alternatives to the combustion of gasoline and other fossil fuels. A fuel cell uses the chemical energy of hydrogen to cleanly and efficiently produce electricity, with water and heat as by products.