Top 5 Renewable Energy Careers

How much do you know about renewable energy?
How much do you know about renewable energy?

When gas prices skyrocketed at the start of the 21st century, the world, and especially the United States, faced a rather startling reality: Our primary energy supply, fossil fuels, is even more unstable than some of us thought. Fossil fuels are finite and frighteningly subject to market, political and geological trends.

We now know that if our cars are to continue getting us to work, we must make renewable energy more than a fleeting interest in the newest hybrid. With increasing government and private funding of renewable energy, the industry as a whole is exploding, and along with it the number of potential jobs in the green-power sector.

If there were such a thing as a sure thing, expansion in green-energy employment opportunities would be it. It's a huge market, encompassing solar power, wind power, geothermal energy, biofuels and hydropower, for a start. Research and development are ongoing, large-scale capability is increasing, and real-world implementation of renewable-energy technologies is growing by the day.

It's not easy to wade through the chaos of a developing industry in search of the right job. To simplify the process, here are five of the highest-demand, fastest-growing careers in renewable energy -- a taste of the most promising opportunities in the industry.

Number 5 is an oldie, a goodie and an umbrella for all sorts of energy interests.