The world energy market is full of challenges and great innovations. The development of energy resources was a key factor that made civilisation to change dramatically and to build a modern society in which we live in. We fuel planes and cars for transportation, power computers and phones to communicate, warm houses and easily cool refrigerators to keep food fresh. Nowadays it would be impossible to manufacture anything without using electricity.
Like a plant needs sun light to grow, the modern technology needs to consume energy to perform its work. The revolutionary progress in this sector made a gradual transition from heavy to light energy resources, substituting coal to oil since Industrialization; we now can apply many alternatives for traditional energy resources. The investment into renewable energy market is significant for Government not only in solving environmental problems but providing a security in oil dependent countries.
Whereas the oil and gas companies continue to dominate the stock market for decades with high prices and double return, there is a new trend of investment into renewable energy which accounts for around 20% of total energy today.
Background of the study
The climate change and public policy affects the demand in energy market. It brings new trend in our technology, transportation and household to use more environmentally friendly resources. The cost of the renewable projects are opposite to oil when the price is cheaper in the beginning but reaches high peaks in the end. One of the benefits of the renewable-energy devices is in their long term profitability, compensating consumers for the early installation cost, but by lower rate while usage and paying users for every extra unit of electricity they generated per watt (ref) .
The Middle east crisis drastically affected oil prices in the World market.
By the early 1970s, there was a decline in the production of oil in US consequently leading to the dependance on imported oil from Middle East. Because of the panic caused by Mideast Oil Crisis Arab countries declared embargo to the Netherlands and United States as a punishment for participating in Arab-Israeli conflict. Prices increased almost by 70% and overnight, the price of a barrel of oil to these nations rose from $3 to $5.11 (In January 1974, they raised it further to $11.65) (ref) producing shortage in supply. Although helped to resolve this conflict on the Middle East, they withdraw their support of Israel. Still, it had a negative impact on the price of oil which continued to inflate over the next two decades. While the Iran shah was displaced, the price for oil export fall to insignificantly low level, after which oil prices again grew extremely high. Moreover , the invasion of Kuwait by Iraq made prices to volatile one more time but only for awhile. The dependence of the World on the Middle Eastern oil creates unfavourable condition for the global economy. (ref)The debate on finding new sources of energy continues to stop dependance on the reserves of other countries.
Can sustainable energy be a good Investment? (financial view)
What are the advantages and risks of Investment into Renewable-energy market?
How to achieve economies of scale for renewable energy market with high cost of AMI (Advanced meter Infrastructure) ?
How does Government policy affect the competitiveness of the manufacturer?
If the US Government will reduce the taxes on Renewable companies, can American solar/wind companies compete with Chinese counterparts?
If the R&D and innovation are so significant in the renewables market, but costly for Chinese companies how it will benefit American companies?
Aims and objectives
Whereas, the fossil fuels are considered to be traditional resources, the aim of this research is to explore a new investment opportunities in the energy market of United States, China and India. It also aims to discuss the threats/dangers of using non renewable energy and to discuss various options how to cope with oil scarcity and the benefits of renewables market.
Significance of study
This study is significant due to its objective to examine the long term Investment opportunities versus short term in the energy market. Hence, majority of investment portfolios are only intended to get a quick return, the study investigates the emerging energy market opportunities and their sustainability in the long run. It will try to identify the real costs of energy in comparison with fossil fuels and analyse the global demand for energy over the next decade.
The recent rapid growth of energy use all over the world has drawn concern over the supply and sustainability of the current energy resources. This has led many countries to seek alternative sources of energy that are renewably (Iwaro & Mwasha, 2010). According to Renewable Energy World (2012), most of the countries still heavily rely on coal, oil and natural gas energy. These forms of resources are finite and will eventually end. Additionally, they are too expensive and pose a huge threat to the environment due to their pollution. It is in this regard that most developed countries have started to implement energy standards for extraction and consumption of the existing energy resources. Likewise, they are investing heavily in renewable energy resources such as wind and solar, which are replenish able and will never run out (Diana, 2011).
The concept of sustainable development over the last two decades has generated a heated debate on how to realize it. According to Diana (2011), different authors have written intensively about the potential problems associated with the depletion of world’s resources, and their economic, social and ecological effect. Yumkella (2012) concurs with this, citing the need to act cohesively towards global issues on sustainable development. Much of this is contributed by great economic uncertainty, great inequity, high urbanization and high levels of youth unemployment. In light of this, many scholars have come up with numerous definition of renewable energy. According to (Texas Renewable Energy Industries Association (TREIA), 2012), renewable energy is any form of energy resource that is naturally generated over a short period of time and derived directly from the sun, indirectly from the sun such as wind power or from other natural movements and mechanisms. Clean Energy (2012) on the other hand defines renewable energy as natural energy which does not have a limited supply.
The future of global energy lies in the use of sustainable energy. It is apparent that energy from renewable resources is clean and inexhaustible. In this regard, investing in this form of energy not only improve energy security but also create new jobs thus fostering economic growth (United Nation Foundation, 2012). Likewise, the use of renewable energy mitigates global climatic change and facilitates the independence in energy. The rationale behind this is that the current modes of energy production generate the emission of greenhouse gas that depletes the ozone layer (Culley, et al., 2011). To save the future of the universe against such consequences as destructive storms, floods, drought, coastal erosion and outbreak of infectious diseases, the world must agree on the use of sustainable energy. Lastly, Debbage & Kidd (2011) asserts that the use of renewable energy helps to conserve the natural resources. Since the future is always uncertain, the conservation of natural resources ensures that the future generations will also have resources at their disposal.
It is apparent that most countries face the challenge of assuring reliable and secure energy sources to its citizens in the future. It is also good to pinpoint that the use of sustainable energy has its advantages as well as risks (Khalil, 2012). Balancing the two is critical so as to determine whether investing in renewable energy market is worthwhile. US president, Barrack Obama in March 19, 2009 challenged the people to make a choice on whether to remain one of the world’s importers of foreign oil or make an investment that would enable the country to become the leading exporter of renewable energy (Debbage & Kidd, 2011). Such a statement fostered the US government as well as other governments to rethink on the policies affecting the competitiveness of sustainable energy production.
Research design and methodology
Research is undertaken in most disciplines, subjects and professions to critically scrutinize, analyze, and evaluate various issues. As research is usually carried out in a structured framework a research process has to be followed (Dawson, 2002). One critical stage in the research process is the research paradigm and methodology stage. The research methodology is the pathway through which the objectives of the research are arrived at. It is through this conceptual framework that the researcher aims at achieving the research goals within the given timeframe and budget amongst other constraints (Kumar, 2005).
In coming up with an appropriate research methodology a researcher has to consider a number of factors. These factors include the research objectives, the literature review, information source, population and type of data needed amongst others. In this study the research methodology has been constructed after a thorough examination and consideration of all these factors. It is through this methodology that the study was set to achieve the objectives identified in the introduction chapters. Second, the chosen framework also assisted in answering the research questions. The researcher crafted the research methodology to highlight on various pertinent issues such as the research paradigm, population of the study, sampling, data collection and analysis amongst other issues (Kothari, 2008).
Research design is also referred to as research paradigm and it is the theoretical framework through which the research is carried. Research paradigm generally is a set of basic laws or beliefs that will be followed throughout the study. In every research there has to be an inherent research design that will guide the researcher along the research process (Wisker, 2009). It assists the researcher to concentrate on the objectives of the study with the minimal chances of any deviations. Thus, it is very pertinent that a researcher chooses a research design very cautiously as it influences the end results of the whole study (Wahyuni, 2012). This implies that a research design may lead to valid, ethical and reliable study results or otherwise (Vogt, Gardner, & Haeffele, 2002).
This research was set to follow a descriptive, explanatory and exploratory research design or paradigm. First, it was a descriptive study because it aimed to exemplify the research problem at hand very analytically. This is due to the fact that the situation at hand had to be described so that it was comprehensively understood. Second, the study was explanatory as it also endeavored to explain whether there is relationship between the Chinese and the American renewable industry. Additionally, this approach was used to find whether there existed relationships amongst other issues such as taxes and performance of the companies in the renewable energy sector amongst others (Creswell, 2011).
Lastly, the study also targeted to explore the whole renewable energy sector with an aim of understanding it better. Subsequently, it will also be pertinent to recommend whether more study should be carried out on this research problem. In order to achieve these objectives under the stated research design the study used both the qualitative and quantitive approaches. Qualitative research paradigm becomes a choice because it enables researches to better understand their research problems or objectives (Merriam, 2009).
It became a researcher’s choice in the early beginning of the twentieth century after researchers felt that the quantitive approach was not thorough enough. The qualitative philosophy of study enables researchers to study things or people in their natural settings and thus better understand them (Denzin, 1994). Additionally, the approach is better because it is a multifaceted technique that uses many tools and instruments. The qualitative paradigm also allows the use of many linked and collaborating methods. Thus, the approach helped in better analyzing, interpreting and understanding the issues behind the renewable energy industry (Szyjka, 2012).
Secondly, it also enabled the researcher to use a myriad of research methods and tools while at the same time getting the real views of people in the research problem at hand. On the other hand the quantitive research paradigm is both a deductive and objective approach. It attempts to study objects under controlled conditions and it helps in the testing and validating of hypothesis. Additionally, the quantitive paradigm helps the study to gather quantitive data that will assist in the creation of statistical reports. The approach therefore assisted in the measuring of variables so that they can give accurate hypothesis testing (Grady, 1998).
Variables can be defined as measurable concepts in any research or study. Thus it can be said that variables are concepts behind a research area or problem that have to be measured. In turn the variables are used to get the respondents in a research problem gauge their perceptions and the same time reduce the variance of such findings. Variables hence being measurable use different measurement scales such as rankings scale, nominal scale and interval scales among others (Woods, 2002).
However, variables can either be independent or dependent variables depending on the purpose of the research (Mitchell & Jolley, 2012). In this research the concept behind the research area is the profitability of renewable energy sector as compared to the non renewable energy sector. Profitability can be measured using many parameters such as operating income, Return on Assets (ROA), net income, Return on Equity (ROE) and costs to income ratio among others. Thus, in this study the dependent variables can be identified as operating income, net income, ROA, ROE and cost to income ratio. On the other hand the independent variables can be identified as the market capitalization base and government taxes (Damodaran, 2011).
This study employed the use of data triangulation so that weaknesses in one data collection method were complemented by another approach. Data triangulation is especially used in the qualitative approach and it helps in the validation of information from different sources. It thus centers on collecting information from many different sources and was therefore helpful in this study. Data collection for the study was geared towards gathering both primary and secondary data. In this study primary data was collected for the very first time while secondary data was gathered from the already analyzed data. In the endeavor to gather these data the most time and cost effective data collection techniques were utilized. However data accuracy, validity and reliability were of outmost priority (Kumar, 2008).
Data collection methods
Primary data collection methods
This study process engaged the use of survey investigation. This is due to the reason that surveys help to answer questions about research problems in an extensive way. Secondly, surveys help in gathering data from large populations in a very efficient and effective manner. Thirdly, the surveys method can be structured or unstructured, direct or indirect, verbal or written and are thus very flexible and dynamic. Therefore, the researcher in this study was able to probe more opinions from the participants in many varied and investigative procedures. The tools available under the surveys approach include various types of interviews and questionnaires (Panneerselvam, 2004).
The questionnaire is a list or schedule of questions written down and administered to the participants of the research. The participants read the questions and analyze what is needed of them before writing down their answers. Second, the researcher may choose to read the questions to the participants and elaborate on some issues before filing the answers on behalf of the respondents. In this study both the above explained questionnaire administration approaches were employed (Beiske, 2002).
The questionnaires were used in this study because they allowed the collection of data from the participants in a very cost effective manner. The questionnaires were administered using approaches such as face to face, mail, telephone and the internet. Mail and internet questionnaires were preferred because they were able to reach respondents who either have busy schedules or in far away location such as China. Secondly, the approach was preferred as it elicits more honest answers from respondents as regards personal or sensitive questions. Thirdly, the approach was also preferred as it helped to avoid the bias of the researcher in situations where answers given were not as expected (Azzara, 2010).
The questionnaires used were structured and contained both open ended and close ended questions. They were structured to allow the study to take a formal academic stance and thus make the participants feel at ease. Open ended questions were used because they helped in soliciting more insight into the subject or research problem as the respondents gave answers in their own dictum. However, data gathered from open ended questions proved difficult to analyze as it was not standardized. On the other hand close ended questions were used because they assisted in describing the research problem as well as testing the knowledge of the respondents on the subject (Browne & Keeley, 1998).
Before the questionnaire was used in this research it was tested for its effectiveness, reliability and relevance. In addition the questions in the questionnaires were crafted such that they were unambiguous, clear, ethical and unbiased. This is informed by the fact that questions which do not conform to these standards may be subject to misinterpretations or incomprehension. Lastly, before a participant was administered a questionnaire their consent was sought and no coercion was used (Brace, 2008).
Interviews were also used in this study to a large extent to allow for the insightful and firsthand answers into this research problem. Interviews are used because they elicit a lot of information from respondents within short durations of time. Secondly, interviews are very flexible as the interviewer may opt to ask the questionnaire questions in any way based on the responses of the respondent. The interviewer also has the flexibility to exemplify some questions for the respondent to better understand the question. Thirdly, interviews are sometimes instantaneous as they can take place anywhere whether at home, in the office or in a café and thus they favor respondents (Holstein & Gubrium, 2001).
Many types of interviews were used in this study ranging from online interviews, telephone interviews to personal interviews. Online interviews and telephone interviews were used to reach participants in far away locations and those that had busy schedules. These two types of interviews were preferred because they are very fast, flexible, interactive and they elicit a lot of pertinent information. On the other hand personal interviews were also used to reach well-informed people in this research area as well as get answers from the participants in the public (Gillham, 2000).
The personal interviews were preferred because they were more interactive and any clarifications took place instantly. In addition the interviewer was also able to observe the respondents and thus learn more from the reactions and facial expressions of the respondents. The personal interviews used for this study were interceptive interviews as well as focus groups. Interceptive interviews involved only one respondent while focus groups involved a group of around ten people at a time. Focus groups were used on students who are knowledgeable and familiar with this research area and who could be reached easily (Bryman & Bell, 2007).
Secondary data on the other hand was collected from the already published or written materials. It therefore entailed the use of an extensive literature review approach so as to get reliable data. Secondary data was thus collected from financial websites such as yahoo finance, nasdaq and Nikkei. It was also collected from other online sites such as the company and government websites amongst others. Most importantly secondary data was also gathered from scholarly literature, books, journals, magazines, newsletters, newspapers and published reports on renewable energy amongst others (Cooper & Schindler, 2006).
The population and the representative sample
The aim of this research was to collect data from all the stakeholders in the renewable energy sector, financial analysts, environmentalists, governments, green movements’ members and the general public amongst others. From this list of all possible participants it is evident to see that the targeted population was quite large. It was thus not possible to reach all these probable respondents due to costs, time, distance, language barriers and other factors. The researcher therefore opted to pick representative samples of this entire population that would enable the attainment of reliable and accurate results.
A sample can be said to be a certain percentage of the population that is fully representative of the entire population. To come up with the sample the researcher had to bear in mind who was to be interviewed, the size of the sample and the way to go about to get the sample. This was important because of the kind of the information and the accuracy of the study the researcher required. Secondly, it was also necessary for the researcher to decide the number of people to be involved in the study. In addition this was vital as care has to be taken in choosing a sample from the population if representation was to be attained (Levy & Lemeshow, 1999).
The research used a combination of both probability and non probability sampling methods. The probability sampling technique used was stratified sampling whereby the whole target population was divided into mutually exclusive and homogenous strata or groups. In coming up with the strata the researcher divided the target population according to various attributes such as China situated or America situated amongst others. The mutual exclusiveness was paramount so that no target member of the population would fit into more than one homogenous stratum (Zikmund & Babin, 2010).
Subsequently, the researcher used non probability techniques such as judgment sampling and quota sampling to get the final representative samples. Judgment sampling was used because the researcher had to decide which members of the strata were more insightful into this research area. This was to ensure that most reliable and accurate data was gathered from the resulting sample. It was also necessary for the researcher to decide the number of people to select from each stratum and thus form the representative samples. Lastly, the researcher also had the responsibility to select representative samples from which information would be solicited from conveniently. This was paramount because there is no need to select samples from which information is difficult to extract (Zikmund & Babin, 2010).
Data analysis is a very critical stage in any research process as it impacts seriously the accuracy of the research results. In data analysis it is vital that various methods are used together in conjunction with each other so as to help in interpreting the data correctly. However, before data analysis it is fundamental that the collected data is processed first. Processing of data in this study involved editing the collected data so that all the mistakes, oversights and errors were rectified. Secondly, the collected data was classified according to its attributes. This was to help in the grouping of data according to the various strata arrived at in the sampling process. Lastly, data was tabulated to allow for ease in analyzing the same and at the same time to aid in statistical calculations. However, all the collected data was processed and analyzed from one central location to allow for effective, proficient and accurate analysis of data (Bryman & Hardy, Handbook of Data Analysis, 2009).
Qualitative data collected was analyzed through the multivariate method and the content analysis method. The multivariate method was used as it allows for many approaches into data analysis. However, the content analysis approach was used so that the responses from the questionnaires and the interviews were thoroughly scrutinized. Content analysis enabled the researcher to identify the core themes given by the respondents and subsequently assign them codes as appropriate (Cooper & Schindler, 2006).
Secondly, the approach enabled the researcher to classify the responses into the various themes and hence be able to integrate them in the results of the study. Quantitive data on the other hand was analyzed using the constant method and computers. The computers were used to give statistical information and at the same time give graphical results for easy interpretation of the data. The constant method was used to give frequencies and inter data tables’ comparison or tabulation (Cohen, Manion, & Morrison, 2007).
In any research there are both inherent and stipulated ethics to be followed by the researcher. These ethics may be professional, societal, religious or academic amongst others and they may be explicit or implicit. However, they apply to both the researcher and the participants and vice versa. In this study the ethics of research and other kinds of ethics as applies to participants and the researcher were adhered to consistently and to the letter. This was informed by a strong sense of what can be considered right or wrong (Smith, 2003).
First and foremost all the participants participated in this research out of their own free will without any form of coercion or manipulation. They gave their consents after being sufficiently informed of the purposes of the study, the type of information required from them, other participation required from them, their rights and the way they may exit if they are no longer interested in the research. This step was taken as the researcher was aware that collecting information from respondents without their consents is unethical (Pimple, 2008).
Secondly, the privacy and confidentiality of the participants was highly observed at all the stages of the study. Therefore, in this research no participants was called or referred to by name unless the participant gave express permission. In addition all the responses from the participants were kept anonymous and not mentioned to other respondents for ill motives. As such all the responses from the participants were assigned specific kinds of codes or numbers for identification purposes in case they needed to be referred to (Wilson, 2010).
In regard to their privacy the participants were not in any way obliged or to divulge any personal private details. As such the interviewer elaborated to the respondent the sensitivity of any question in a polite manner and no response was demanded. If any response was given by the respondent it was on their informed free will and consent and such was kept very confidential. Lastly, the privacy of all the participants was upheld as their wishes were granted. In case a participant felt afraid to speak in an open place the interview was conducted in sound proof rooms (Burns & Burns, 2008).
On the part of the researcher ethics was also observed as required. As such the researcher did not in any way use a wrong research methodology so as to favor results already premeditated. Secondly, the researcher at all times avoided bias which would lead into inaccurate research results. Therefore, the researcher reported all the information as it was collected without any alterations or omissions. Lastly, the researcher did not in any way use the information collected to foster harm to any participant (Gregory, 2003).
Reliability and validity
Any research findings and results must be both reliable and valid for it to be considered quality work. Reliability however seems to be more challenging to attain than the validity of research. Reliability means that the findings and results of any study can be achieved by other researchers if given near similar conditions. Circumstances regarding a research change from time to time and hence repetition of the same exact study is not possible. This research aimed at being both reliable and valid and thus it took all the precautions and measures to make sure that was achieved. The researcher therefore used the actual data and information collected from the field of study to make the final report of the results. Hence, no alterations were carried out on the original data and neither where there any omissions occasioned (Leedy & Ormrod, 2012).
Conversely, validity of research means that the correct research methodology was used so as to accurately analyze the objectives of the study. Validity issues arise from both within and without the study process. As such this study ensured validity was observed by making sure that the indentified paradigm and tools in the research methodology were the ones used in the research process. In doing so the study observed content, predictive, con current and construct validity. These types of validity all relate to internal validity of the research process. Secondly, external validity has been addressed by the fact the samples taken by the researcher were fully representative of the entire population. Thus, the results arrived at can be generalized to the whole population (Smallbone & Quinton, 2006).
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