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A Look At The Future of Green Power, And How You May Fit In

By Erdin Beshimov

Have you been thinking more and more about making a difference in the world? Maybe a "green-collar" job is right for you. Here's the scoop on the latest trends and hottest developments in the energy and utilities industries.

The Big Crew Change

People familiar with the industry mention the Big Crew Change immediately. In sectors such as petroleum, the average worker is close to 50 years old and will retire in the next decade. Fresh talent will be needed to fill the gaps in the industry created by aging Baby Boomer's. And while companies compete for new grads, qualified candidates will see a bonanza of job offers and possibilities for advancement.

Green Investing

What is $30 billion? It's the amount of money invested in renewable energy in 2005. This record-breaking sum comprised a staggering 20-25% of global investments in the energy industry. Green energy is one of the hottest sectors right now, and its impact is seen by some as even greater than the Internet boom in the late 1990s. This field promises gigantic opportunities, waves of innovation and dazzling breakthroughs. It may be a very good time to come aboard and ride this wave.

So Long, Monopolies!

In the past, energy and utility companies operated as regulated monopolies -- that is, in return for having no competition, they adhered to regulations by public utility commissions. These commissions ensured that companies acted in the best interest of the public and kept watch over the rates they charged. In recent years, however, legislative changes began promoting competition in the industry. Three factors contributed to this change: a significant drop in the cost of solar and wind power (in the latter case, a decrease of 80 percent in the last 15 years), growth in consumer environmental awareness, and the gradual deregulation of the electricity market. Consumers will now be able to choose their energy sources!

Surging Demand in Solar and Wind Energy

According to the American Solar Energy Institute, more than one million Americans use solar water heaters, more than 500,000 use solar energy to heat their swimming pools, and more than 200,000 homes use solar electric technology. And these numbers will only grow in the future, producing a high demand for architects who can design buildings to maximize sunlight, as well as installers of solar systems for homes and businesses. In addition, there promises to be tremendous demand for engineers specializing in wind energy, the fastest growing energy technology over the past three years.

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