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Issues in Science and Technology Librarianship
Summer 2010
DOI: 10.5062/F4WW7FKS

URLs in this document have been updated. Links enclosed in {curly brackets} have been changed. If a replacement link was located, the new URL was added and the link is active; if a new site could not be identified, the broken link was removed.


Science and Technology Resources on the Internet

A Field of Green: Renewable Energy Research on the Web

Dawn Lowe-Wincentsen
Portland Operations Librarian
Oregon Institute of Technology
Portland, Oregon

Copyright 2010, Dawn Lowe-Wincentsen. Used with permission.

Introduction and Scope

Renewable energy is a hot ticket in today's markets. New degree programs in sustainable business and renewable energy engineering are starting in colleges in the US and abroad. The world is looking for new ways to fuel our lives, from cars to buildings and more. In fashion one might say, "Green is the new black," as it goes with everything.

Some sources such as wind and solar have been used for decades, even hundreds of years while others such as wave power are just now finding a foothold and becoming more accessible to energy consumers. Research on energy is inherently cross-disciplinary, incorporating aspects of electrical engineering, mechanical engineering, chemistry, environmental sciences, economics, and among other fields.

This webliography provides an introductory guide to renewable energy news sources, journals, databases, and scholarly research. This compilation first provides links to renewable energy general resources, then focuses on specific types of renewable energy, in particular biofuels, biomass, geothermal, photovoltaic, and wind power. Different aspects of each of these are also taken into account, from how to engineer to industry profiles.


The aspects considered when selecting the sites listed below included the breadth of material, the source of the material, and its perceived usefulness to the researcher. These include trade and government associations and organizations, universities, news sites, journals, energy tracking sites, and more.

The Web 2.0 movement has spawned a multitude of collaborative tools such as wikis, social networks, and social bookmarking. For this webliography, social bookmarking sites were searched using a set of tags as keywords. These sites included Delicious, Digg, Stumbleupon, and Reddit. The same tags were searched in each tool to provide consistency in results.

General Resources

News feeds

Alternative Energy
This site contains primarily recent news in renewable energy. Categories are divided by type of energy, and tags may be used to further refine searches. There is a directory of alternative energy sites, and various subscription options. This site like many social sites is user generated. Although not a wiki, there are places for readers to submit articles and content that is then reviewed before posting.
Green Inc.
This blog, published by the New York Times, is a news source on green energy and environmental matters. The blog is individually searchable, and provides a newspaper-article-like treatment of current events in the field.
This news aggregator provides current news across many renewable energy resource fields from solar to geothermal and wave power. A basic site search is available to find older articles. This group is a green-energy business cooperative with an emphasis on marketing and finance of green projects and businesses.
Renewable Energy World
This is a gateway to blogs, podcasts, news and other popular sources on renewable energy. There is also a directory of renewable-energy company information including basic overviews, products, press releases and contact information from the publishers of the journal, Renewable Energy World.
Union of Concerned Scientists
The clean-energy portion of this non-profit group provides information on impacts of energy consumption and the basics of clean-energy information, for those who are familiar with the topic, but not necessarily scientists. Also available are archives of the group's newsletters and reports.


Association of Energy Engineers
Search and browse AEE publications and archives. A subscription is required for full text access, but citations, abstracts and some references are available for free or guest access. Archives date back to 2000. All journals may be browsed by title and date.
DSIRE Database for State Incentives for Renewables and Efficiency
Search by state or federal programs that encourage renewable energy use and sustainable practices. Resources date back to 1995. The database is funded by the US Department of Energy, North Carolina Solar Center and the Interstate Renewable Energy Council.
Energy Citations Database
This database is sponsored by the US Department of Energy, developed and created by the DOE's Office of Scientific and Technical Information. The database contains over two and a half million citations and over two hundred thousand full-text documents on energy and energy engineering. The primary purpose of the database is to provide this information for the average citizen, although it contains many technical reports written by advanced researchers. The scope is not limited to renewable energy sources, and it includes some historical information.


MIT World: Environment/ Energy
Watch lectures from MIT professors and guests on a variety of topics in the environmental and energy disciplines. A search is available for the entire site. Over 600 videos are cataloged; at this time almost 100 are in this category. Lectures include the video, an abstract, lecturer information, and a selection of related materials.

Companies, Associations, and Government Agencies

This site, originally published by LIOR International for the European Commission, has since gone global. It offers European and global perspectives on renewable energy resources. This site is divided up into types of resources including a directory of names in the field and European policy documents. Most resources are written in British English.
Clean Edge
This non-profit group researches and reports on the alternative energy market. Reports are available back to 2001. Some are free, but you must sign in to access them.
Energy Information Administration
This site has news and reports with statistics on a variety of renewable energy sources from geothermal and biofuels to solar and wind. Reports are available back to 2007. All information is produced by the U.S. government.
Energy Savings Trust
Find charts and solutions for small-scale renewable energy models. This site is designed for the home energy consumer in the UK and Scotland, but the information is applicable in any region. The Trust is an independent, UK-based organization focused on promoting action that leads to the reduction of carbon dioxide emissions.
International Energy Agency
International organization that focuses on energy and energy research. The site is searchable as a whole or you can narrow by topic or region. Reports range from policy documents to current oil reports. This database holds more than renewable energy resources.
National Renewable Energy Laboratory Publications
This database provides access to citations and some full articles, reports, conference papers, and other resources about renewable energy and energy efficiency by current and past researchers at the NREL U.S. government laboratory and its program areas.
United Nations Development Programme; Environment and Energy
Full text of international reports and programs are available in the sustainable energy sections. The site is searchable, though the search does not allow narrowing to just sustainable energy resources.
US Department of Energy, Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy
The mission of this office is to "strengthen the United States' energy security, environmental quality, and economic vitality in public-private partnerships." This leads to publication of reports and news about renewable and sustainable energy sources. News articles and press releases are searchable and available via free subscription. There is also a popular topics thread.



Biofuel Review
This news site focuses on current events and news specific to biofuels and their development with an international spin. The earliest articles are from May, 2006. A keyword search is available with a variety of sorting options. This site is independently published out of Kent, UK to support the "emerging" biofuel industry.
Green Car Congress
News articles about renewable, clean burning fuels, and electric cars and transportation. Both an RSS feed and search options are available in the blog style resource. Articles date back as far as April 2004. Green Car Congress' mission is to provide timely, high-quality editorial about the full spectrum of energy options, technologies, products, issues and policies related to sustainable mobility. Articles are written from a journalistic point of view, not an engineering one.


Biodiesel Magazine
Full text of the magazine is available back to 2004 on the web site. Issues are browseable and searchable. There is also a weekly newsletter, and news feeds available on the front page. The magazine is published by BBI international, whose mission is to provide authoritative and accurate information to support the biofuels industry growth. This site also publishes Biomass Magazine, and Ethanol Producer, both free resources.

Companies, Associations, and Government Agencies

Bioenergy Feedstock Information Network
This site is a public access portal to US Department of Energy information on biomass and biofuels. Resources range from government reports and journal articles to quick fact sheets. Though there is not an overall search, resources are divided by type and subject.
USDA National Agricultural Library
Though there are a wide range of agricultural publications available on this site this group focuses on Biofuels and bioenergy as well as on biotechnology. Titles are browseable, with many providing early archives such as the Journal of Agricultural Research from 1913-1949.
National Biodiesel Board
PDF files of both the boards bulletin and newsletter are available back to 2007 and 2006. Current news and events as well as up to date market information on biodiesel are also available on the site. The NBB is the national trade association for the biofuel industry supporting research and development in the industry.
This site focuses on Algae as oil and fuel. There are some reports available, but also blogs and news links. Some areas of the site appear to be selling resources but other content such as the newsletter is free. This is an international company.

Geothermal Power

Companies, Associations, and Government Agencies

Geothermal Education Office
This site, produced by the Marin County (California) Board of Education, ranges from the very basics of geothermal principles to how to convert energy to electricity in order to promote an understanding of geothermal resources. The site also provides a map with descriptions of likely geothermal energy producing locations.
Geothermal Energy Association
This trade association, composed of geothermal businesses, offers PDF files of past industry reports as well as general news and event information. Most information is aimed at geothermal companies and those who are looking at geothermal power options for their business.
Geothermal Resources Council
Full text of the Mexican professional journal, "Geotermia" is available in PDF form back to Volume 17, 2004. Bulletin articles are also available in English as well as a directory. Web articles explain geothermals in easy to understand text. News from Annual meetings and other council gatherings is also available. A search for non members is available by section. Further publications are available at cost to the researcher.
International Geothermal Association
The association's newsletter is archived online back to 1999. Various other reports and research are also available, most are in English though some are in other languages. Newsletters are searchable, as is the entire site. Conference papers are available for purchase. The IGA is a non-profit, non-government, non-political organization that contracts through the United Nations to encourage research, development, and use of geothermal resources.
U.S. Geological Survey
Under sciences or via the site search find information on specific geothermal resources and hazards. This site if best for identifying natural resources, though some related research is also available. PDF files of the newsletter are available back to fall of 2007, with an option to subscribe to upcoming issues.


This is a blog-style news site that focuses on photovoltaics and solar power. Articles are searchable by the entire site, or by category. Information is written at a level that is understandable to the layman as well as the solar-power professional. Other site features include a section search, journal archives, technical-paper abstracts, a director, and product reviews. Semiconductor Fabtech compiles and provides editorial information from industry professionals.


Solar Pro Magazine
The most current 6 months of the magazine are available for PDF download. Current topics and web exclusive articles are available for free. Information is aimed at the engineer and professional solar worker.

Companies, Associations, and Government Agencies

American Solar Energy Society
The ASES' mission is to "inspire an era of energy innovation and speed the transition to a sustainable energy economy." On the site, news and job postings are available to all. The Association's journal, Solar Today is available in mostly full text back to August 2008. These are also browseable. The blog incorporates articles and current news into one resource.
Focus Solar
This site is divided in to sections by residential solar needs, utility solar needs, and the company community. Of particular interest are the solar energy maps available for the US, Middle East, and Europe. The company is funded by the German ministry for business and technology.
Photovoltaic Geographic Information System
Map locations in Europe and Africa to find their solar potential on a 12-month calendar. Narrow by PV panel type, mounting positions, movements, and others. Information is made available from the European Commission.
Solar Buzz
Photovoltaic market information by country as well as buying guides for the average home consumer. The site is pushing home solar energy, though not obviously associated with any one manufacturer. The company and market profiles are a unique aspect. Solar Buzz is a consulting agency in the photovoltaic industry. They claim to be disseminators, not creators, of PV news.
Solar Centre Desert Knowledge Australia
Researchers can track and follow a wide array of solar power options sent up by the Australian government in the Northern Territories. Find real time weather and PV panel statistics as well as background information and research. Use the Technologies and historical data to find how these systems could be applicable in other regions.
The Solar Guide
An independent research company out of Canada compiles and publishes information on this site, primarily for consumers of solar and other renewable power sources. A site search is available for products, and by page title.

Wind power


The front page has current wind-industry news with archives under news and events. Under policy and research is an advanced search to find reports and research. The e-newsletter is also available and archived to December 2008. Other documents include how to get started guides for both home and community projects as well as a searchable company directory. Information is aimed at everyone who is interested in wind power from researchers to the personal wind power engineer. This site is sponsored by the Great Plains Windustry Project.

Companies, Associations, and Government Agencies

American Wind Energy Association
View association publications and well as collected reports on wind energy. Some material is archived for the past year, some further, but it varies by publication. Association blog and news are also available.
Canada Wind Energy Association
Access to association and industry news and conferences is provided, as well as the most recent year of the association's magazine, Wind Sight. Members have a wider range of access.
European Wind Energy Association
Publications include current reports, facts and position papers by the association. Most are in English though some may be in other European languages. Documents are in PDF format. There is also a statistics section that has both European statistics and global statistics. Some articles of the association's journal, Wind Directions, are available back to 2003. The journal is not searchable, but the site is.
Wind Finder
Search by region for wind forecasts and statistics. Get down to city level data forecasted for two weeks, or statistical data for the past 12 months. The site also provides similar information for waves. The site is written for surfers and others who participate in wind based sports, and is powered by Segler newspaper in Germany.
Wind Powering America
This site hosted by the U.S. Department of Energy includes 80-meter wind maps, and wind energy maps by state. Also available are wind market reports and other government publications on wind power. A small section of the site also talks about wave energy.

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