According to the Washington Business Journal, new forms of renewable energy are increasingly popular in the Washington, D.C., area, and experts believe the trend will turn into one of the country’s strongest economic drivers.

In 2006, the nationwide renewable energy industry generated $933 billion in revenue and more than 8 million jobs, according to the American Solar Energy Society (ASES). Projections by ASES suggest those figures could rise to more than 40 million “green-collar” employees and $4.5 trillion in revenue by 2030 if federal legislators forcefully promote an alternative energy agenda.

To that end, Washington D.C., and 25 states passed renewable energy standards for utilities. By the end of 2008, electricity retailers in Virginia are required to, at minimum, provide a 100 percent renewable energy option for consumers. By 2022, 12 percent of the retailers’ total offerings must be turned into renewable energy.

New technologies also are under development to fulfill the nation’s growing demand for energy. Solar energy and wind power are gaining momentum. Along the U Street corridor, 10 D.C. companies are pooling funds to purchase 2 million kilowatt-hours of wind energy annually. In addition, the University of Maryland began cooling campus facilities with a thermal energy storage system.

-Information Inc.