If you’ve driven through Northern Indiana/Illinois, or certain other parts of the country, you may have noticed something incredible – miles and miles of huge windmills, with blades turning gently in the wind. They are a beautiful thing to behold, and a massive clue that changes are afoot in the electrical generation industry.
There is a clear movement away from the use of coal to generate power. It is a movement driven by environmental as well as economic concerns. Environmentally, the burning of coal is bad for aid quality. There really is no doubt. But on top of that, depressed natural gas prices have resulted in its becoming a more popular power-generating resource. Technological improvement continues to make alternative energy sources more popular and cost effective. In fact, the Department of Energy estimates that in 30 years, wind energy is expected to be the number one source of energy in the U.S.
Electrical companies also continue to incorporate more and more solar energy as well. Improving technology and consumer demand for clean energy sources are driving this movement. Those who generate enough of their own solar power can even resell that power back to electrical companies.
This shift in power creation at the consumer level does mean that utility companies must now account for power flowing both ways, as opposed to the traditional schema in which power flows from the source of the power (the electrical generation plant) to the consumer.
Continuing improvement (with lowering prices) of home solar energy and battery storage systems is resulting in a continuing shift toward consumers generating more of their own power. The more components work together, and the easier and cheaper they are to implement, the faster this trend will grown.
What much of this means for you, the electrician, is that you need to be very conscious of your customers’ desires to save money as well as take advantage of technologies that are environmentally friendly. Stay up-to-date with electrical industry trends, and make sure you can intelligently discuss various power options with your customers.