Whether solar, waste-to-energy, battery energy storage systems, or compressed natural gas, RETTEW is involved with many projects in the renewable energy market.
In some cases, we’re working with a municipality or other government agency to support utility infrastructure. In other cases, we’re hired by private industrial companies to improve plant operations via waste processing. In still others, we’re working with commercial entities on compressed natural gas use.
The focus on renewable energy has emerged strongly as an option for reducing costs, while helping these operations become less reliant on the public power grid.
Solar equipment prices have dropped by more than 60 percent since 2009. Major companies are investing in solar energy, such as Target, which has 147 megawatts of solar generating energy panels installed at 300 of its stores. And it’s not only large, national companies. High Hotels, a Lancaster-based development group, is installing enough solar panels on the Marriott hotel in downtown Lancaster to completely power its operations.
There are some challenges with renewable energy. With both wind and solar energy, the power provided can be intermittent. Which is why battery energy storage solutions are gaining in popularity within the energy sector.
Tesla is building the largest battery factory in the world, producing lithium-ion batteries. Many other battery types are also increasing in use. These batteries, which can be as large as an RV, are installed near a solar and/or wind-power operation. The battery stores energy produced by the renewable sources, transmitting it at a steady frequency when needed to power operations or to support the local electric grid. This greatly increases the efficiency of power provided, especially compared with a power plant, which loses much of the power produced in transmission.
RETTEW’s environmental engineering group has worked with many clients to support compressed natural gas access and fuel use, such as with our virtual pipeline terminal for Compass Natural Gas. And we’ve taken our wastewater capabilities a step further by incorporating waste-to-energy processes at client sites at both municipal and industrial operations.
The renewable energy industry employs nearly 10 million people worldwide, with continued growth likely. A comprehensive study from the Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory depicted the possibility of the U.S. generating most of its electricity from renewable energy by 2050.