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   Issue 5/6, Winter 2005/Spring 2006

Alternative Energy Sources

Overview     Print Resources    
Electronic Resources     LC Catalog Searches


Conventional energy sources (oil, coal and natural gas) have been the most economically efficient way of providing power for our homes, industries and transportation. However, the supplies of oil and natural gas are finite resources, and are continuously being depleted over time. In addition, these traditional sources of energy are confronting growing challenges regarding environmental and human health concerns. It is clear that alternative energy sources that are renewable and sustainable are needed to fill the world's energy needs. The potential for the expansion and growth of renewable energy sources such as solar, hydro power, wind, biomass, hydrogen, and geothermal is enormous.

Renewable energy sources were brought to the forefront during the mid-1970's as a result of the oil crisis and growing concerns about the supply and environmental effects of nuclear and fossil fuels. A common definition of renewable energy is that it is a sustainable energy source that is replaced rapidly, by a natural ongoing process. This is in clear contrast to nuclear and fossil fuels which are not essentially renewable and can be depleted.

Industry specialists suggest that the future growth in the energy sector will be primarily in renewable energy. Innovations in this area are emerging to promote markets in renewable energy development and resources. It is expected that these innovations will enhance diversity in energy supply, secure long term sustainable energy supplies, reduce global atmospheric emissions, and provide more attractive options in meeting energy needs throughout the world.

Technological innovations such as fuel cells, which, although not an energy source per se, can be used to generate power, are thought to be a viable substitute for the internal combustion engine of transportation vehicles.

BERA - Business & Economics Research Advisor - A Quarterly Guide to Business & Economics Topics

Issue 5/6: Winter 2005/Spring 2006
Updated July 2013

The Oil & Gas Industry

Table of Contents

Cartels & Organizations
Transportation & Storage
Marketing & Distribution
Natural Gas Industry Trends
Alternative Energy Sources
Company Research
Statistical Sources
News & Analysis
Electronic Resources & Catalog Searches

Drilling Rig Near Sable Island
Image (above): Photograph of
drilling rig near Sable Island.
Courtesy of the Maritimes Region of the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, Canada.

Fuel cells operate like batteries, but unlike batteries, fuel cells do not run down or require recharging. They will produce energy in the form of electricity and heat, as long as they are supplied with fuel. Hydrogen is the basic fuel of fuel cells; but with the use of a "fuel reformer," a fuel cell system can utilize hydrocarbon fuels such as: natural gas, methanol and gasoline. Fuel cells rely on chemistry not combustion. The emissions from fuel cells are clean, and the by-products produced are heat and water. High reliability, quality power and efficiency are all qualities that describe fuel cell technology. The enhanced use of fuel cells will provide energy security, security of supply and due to their distributive nature, fuel cells can provide a locality, state, or country more physical security.

Selected Print Resources on Alternative Energy Sources

Alternative Energy: Assessment and Implementation Reference Book, edited by James J. Winebrake. Lilburn, GA: Fairmont Press, 2004. 243 p.
LC Call Number: TJ807.4 .A48 2004
LC Catalog Record: 2003061562

Recently, industry and government have turned to a strategic planning technique called "road mapping" to help understand and evaluate future energy management practices and technologies. Technology road maps have been developed for a number of non-conventional energy technologies. These road maps identify technology trends, barriers to market entry, and technology and policy approaches for overcoming these barriers. Included in this work are discussions of commercial and residential buildings technology; lighting and window technologies; and hydrogen, biomass, wind power and solar power technologies.

Berinstein, Paula. Alternative Energy: Facts, Statistics, and Issues. Westport, CT: Oryx Press, 2001. 208 p.
LC Call Number: TJ808 .B467 2001
LC Catalog Record: 2001021653

This volume gathers disparate and scattered information about alternative energy sources into one place. Provides an overview of the industry and the context in which it operates. It covers solar, biomass, wind, ocean, fusion, geothermal and hydrogen energy sources. Also deals with energy issues such as: energy storage, transportation, fuel cells, and energy efficiency in buildings, lighting and appliances. Includes an extensive list of tables. Has a glossary of terms related to the subject and an extensive index to this work.

Cassedy, Edward S. Prospects for Sustainable Energy: A Critical Assessment. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2000. 284 p.
LC Call Number: TJ808 .C37 2000
LC Catalog Record: 99011969
Table of Contents
Publisher Description
Sample Text [PDF format: 496 KB/ 13 p.]

The purpose of this book is to assess the prospects of producing significant amounts of the world's energy needs from renewable resources - alternatives to fossil fuels. The assessments are technological, economic and social in nature. They cover solar energy sources, biomass energy, wind power, hydroelectric power, energy storage, geothermal energy, ocean energy, nuclear fusion and hydrogen fuel from renewable resources. Well illustrated, it contains extensive bibliographic resources, a glossary of terms, and a detailed index.

Clean Energy Blueprint: A Smarter National Energy Policy for Today and the Future. Cambridge, MA: Union of Concerned Scientists, 2001. 39 p.
LC Call number: HD9502 .U52 C59 2001
LC Catalog Record: 2002512524

Investigates the costs and benefits of a Clean Energy Blueprint to promote diversity in energy production and energy conservation. Examines Clean Energy Blueprint policies included in the Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Investment Act of 2001. Includes a number of relevant tables and charts, and a short bibliography of references.

Energy Crisis in America? edited by Barnes, Roland V. Huntington, NY: Nova Science Publishers, 2001. 157 p.
LC Call Number: TJ163.25.U6 E54 2001
LC Catalog Record: 2002265496
Table of Contents

Analyses the energy situation in America. Makes it clear that America has varied energy policies which are the best place to start looking for the solutions to current energy problems. Discusses legislation that will effect fuel efficiency. Also deals with electric utilities; fuel ethanol; domestic oil and gas producers; energy independence; advanced vehicle technologies; and nuclear energy policy. Contains charts, tables and a useful index.

Energy Technologies for the 21st Century. Paris: OECD, 1997. 340 p.
LC Call Number: TJ163.2 .E4928 1997
LC Catalog Record: 98119116

It is important to reassess the potential for successful development and deployment of new and improved energy technologies and the benefits that could result. This study focuses on technology options and priorities, and on the goals and mechanisms for international cooperation in the long term. Discussed in this work are: progress in the clean use of coal; increased availability of International Energy Agency's hydrocarbon resources; improved modes for transport of natural gas; demonstration of nuclear fusion energy technology; extensive integration of renewable energy sources into the conventional energy system; environmentally sound electric production and distribution; and efficient and flexible fuel use in transport and in technologies for energy end-use. The appendices contain: a list of Experts' Group and Panels, a glossary of terms and abbreviations, and an extensive bibliography.

Fuel Cell Technology Handbook, edited by Gregor Hoogers. FL: CRC Press, 2003.   1 volume, (various pagings).
LC Call Number: TK2931 .F785 2003
LC Catalog Record: 2002067086
Table of Contents

This handbook is divided into two parts. The first part involves the principles of fuel cell technology and gives a detailed outline of its history. It provides a sound technology overview and captures the main concepts with respect to fuel cells and the overall fuel cell system. The second part deals with the applications of fuel cell technology in automotive, stationary and portable power generation. A chapter is devoted to each of these three main applications. The book is well illustrated; has an appendix with internet links for commercial information; and has a detailed index

Herzog, Antonia V., Timothy E. Lipman, and Daniel M. Kammen. Renewable Energy Sources. Berkeley, CA: Energy and Resources Group. [PDF format: 508 KB/ 63 p.]

This overview posits that the future growth in the energy sector will be primarily in the new regime of renewable energy, and to some extent natural gas-based systems, not in conventional oil and coal sources. Because of these developments, market opportunity now exists to both innovate and to take advantage of emerging markets to promote renewable energy technologies, with the additional assistance of governmental and popular sentiment. The development and use of renewable energy sources can enhance diversity in energy supply markets, contribute to securing long term sustainable energy supplies, help reduce local and global atmospheric emissions, and provide commercially attractive options to meet specific energy service needs, particularly in developing countries and rural areas, helping to create new employment opportunities there.

The Hydrogen Energy Transition: Moving Toward the Post Petroleum Age in Transportation, edited by Daniel Sperling and James Spencer Cannon. Boston: Elsevier, 2004. 266 p.
LC Call Number: TP359 .H8 H84 2004
LC Catalog Record: 2004047239
Table of Contents
Publisher Description

Based on the Ninth Biennial Asilomar Conference on Transportation and Energy held in 2003. Discusses the hydrogen fuel cell markets, hybrid vehicles and sources of hydrogen supply. Covers government involvement in the development of alternative fuels for use in transportation vehicles, and the Department of Energy initiatives with private industry to explore the use of hybrid vehicles in current markets. Contains a number of photographs; charts; biographical information on editors and authors; a list of attendees at the Conference; and a detailed index.

National Energy Policy Development Group. Reliable, Affordable, and Environmentally Sound Energy for America's Future. Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office, 2001. 1 volume (various pagings).
LC Call Number: HD9502 .U52 U578 2001
LC Catalog Record: 2001330660 [PDF format: 2.5 MB / 170 p.]

An attractive report that covers the energy challenges facing the U.S. Deals with the effects of high energy prices on families, communities and businesses. Aims at sustaining the nation's health and environment, and increasing energy conservation, efficiency, domestic energy supplies, and renewable and alternative energy. Discusses enhancing national energy security and international relationships.

Plunkett's Renewable, Alternative & Hydrogen Energy Industry Almanac. Houston, TX: Plunkett Research, Ltd., Annual. 2004 to the present.
LC Call Number: HD9502 .U52 P625
LC Catalog Record: 2005252261

A complete guide to the business of renewable, alternative and hydrogen energy. Covers fuel cells, wind power, solar power, co-generation, power storage devices, hydrogen, hydroelectric, biomass energy, alternative technologies and profiles the leading firms. Provides a short glossary of terms used in the renewable, alternative and hydrogen energy industries. Contains a chapter of statistical tables regarding production and consumption of these energy sources. Devotes a chapter to the major trends in these industries and a chapter of important industry contacts. Has an index of energy company subsidiaries, brand names and affiliations.

Policies to Promote Non-hydro Renewable Energy in the United States and Selected Countries. Washington, DC: U.S. Energy Information Administration. February 2005. 30 p.
Table of Contents
Full Text    [PDF format: 574 KB / 30 p.]

Briefly describes U.S. Federal legislation that encouraged the growth of renewable energy. It examines California, where Federal and State legislation combined to install nearly all the U.S. wind capacity as of the early 1990's. Having established an understanding of Federal and California renewable energy policies, the report then compares the policies of the other countries to similar laws enacted in the United States. Conclusions are drawn about why similar policies had dramatically different results in different countries.

Renewable Energy Annual. Washington, DC: Energy Information Administration. Annual. 1995 to the present.
Annual volumes online via the U.S. Dept. of Energy Web site for 1995 forward. [Select Renewable Energy Annual]
LC Call Number: TJ807.9 .U6 R44
LC Catalog Record: 96641363

Presents information on U.S. renewable energy consumption, capacity and electricity generation; U.S. solar thermal and photovoltaic collector manufacturing activities; and U.S. geothermal heat pump manufacturing activities. The renewable energy resources included in this report are: biomass (wood, wood waste, municipal solid waste, ethanol, and bio-diesel); geothermal; wind; solar (solar thermal and photovoltaic); and hydropower. Includes a number of interesting tables; a list of State Energy Agencies; and a glossary.

Renewable Power Pathways: A Review of the U.S. Department of Energy's Renewable Energy Programs. Washington, DC: National Academy Press, 2000. 124 p.
Available online from the publisher: External Link
LC Call Number: TJ807.9 .U6 R455 2000
LC Catalog Record: 00702647

This report was done by the National Research Council on the U.S. Department of Energy's, Office of Power Technologies (OPT) and its research and development programs. The emphasis of the OPT programs is to produce electricity from renewable energy sources. Some programs focus on photovoltaic, wind, solar thermal, geothermal, bio-power, and hydroelectric energy technologies. Others focus on energy storage, electric transmission, hydrogen technologies and distributed power-generation technologies. This work covers the role of renewable energy sources; the assessments of individual programs; and an overall assessment of the Office of Power Technologies.

Sorensen, Bent. Hydrogen and Fuel Cells: Emerging Technologies and Applications. Boston: Elsevier Academic Press, 2005. 460 p.
LC Call Number: TP359 .H8 S68 2005
LC Catalog Record: 2005275773

The focus of this book is the way that hydrogen energy will be delivered and used in the future. There will be great changes in the production, distribution and conversion of hydrogen fuel. Much of this is in response to political instability of oil-producing countries, the depletion of oil resources, and the increased concerns about the environmental effects. This book is clearly written and well illustrated. It contains a detailed bibliography and a well organized subject index.

Union of Concerned Scientists. Renewables Are Ready: A Guide to Teaching Renewable Energy in Junior and Senior High School Classrooms. Cambridge, MA: Union of Concerned Scientists, 2003. 89 p.
LC Call Number: TJ807.9 .U6 U54 2003
LC Catalog Record: 2004273441

This guide is an introduction for students to renewable energy technologies and the political and economic conditions necessary for their implementation. Contains a set of classroom activities with detailed instructions, an expanded list of project suggestions, ideas for student-led education and action campaigns, and a bibliography of resources for further investigation. Includes a Glossary and a Resources Guide.

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Selected Electronic Resources on Alternative Energy Sources

Alternative Fuel Vehicles and Combustion Processes (Tracer Bullet)

This guide has been produced by Science reference staff at the Library of Congress and lists relevant sources of information on alternative fuel vehicles and includes electric vehicles, hybrid vehicles, and personal transportation vehicles, as well as the technology of fuel economy and alternative fuels. It is not a comprehensive bibliography but a guide to get researchers started.

Department of Energy

Various discussion and information on Energy and the Economy including "green," "clean," and sustainable. It also has an Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy.

International Energy Agency External Link

The IEA is an autonomous organization which works to ensure reliable, affordable and clean energy for its 28 member countries and beyond. The web presences includes publications and statistics on renewable energy but some information is free some is either for purchase or available by subscription.

International Solar Energy Society (ISES) External Link

ISES, a non-profit UN-accredited membership NGO founded in 1954 and provides a global voice for renewable energy. There are reports, white papers, and other publications.

National Renewable Energy Laboratory

This is part of the Department of Energy with a focus on creative answers to today's energy challenges. From fundamental science and energy analysis to validating new products for the commercial market.

Ren21 External Link

REN21 is the global renewable energy policy multi-stakeholder network that connects a wide range of key factors including governments, international organizations, industry associations, etc. with the gold to provide a mechanism for knowledge exchange, policy development and joint action. The produces a number of publication including the annual Renewables: Global Status Report.

Renewable Energy World External Link

News and information for all sources of renewable energy.

Science Daily - Renewable Energy External Link

U.S. Energy Information Agency

Produces data and reports on the various renewable energy sources/topics including: biodiesel, fuel ethanol, geothermal, hydropower, solar, and wind.

United Nations Environment Programme External Link

The are primarily concerned with the discussion of global climate change of which one part is energy.

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Library of Congress Catalog Searches

Additional works on alternative energy resources in the Library of Congress may be identified by searching the Online Catalog under appropriate Library of Congress subject headings. Choose the topics you wish to search from the following list to link directly to the Catalog and automatically execute a search for the subject selected. Please be aware that during periods of heavy use you may encounter delays in accessing the catalog. Please see the individual sections of this guide for catalog searches relating to those topics. For assistance in locating the many other subject headings which relate to this subject, please consult a reference librarian.

Last Updated: 06/26/2018

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   Issue 5/6, Winter 2005/Spring 2006
  The Library of Congress >> Researchers
  June 26, 2018
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