The energy industry is comprised of any business, association, or service that is involved with the creation, extraction, development, or delivery of the many different types of energy available. Energy industry participants may be involved in the petroleum industry, gas industry, or even alternative energy industries such as wind and solar energy. Companies involved with the sale and distribution of energy are also part of the energy industry, even if such companies do not create, extract, or develop the energy themselves. Marketing agencies can also be considered part of the energy industry if they participate in marketing campaigns for energy companies or entities.
The major players in the energy industry are coal, oil, gas, and nuclear power companies. These companies extract, refine, and distribute energy in their specific forms, and while they are an integral part of developed societies, they are also some of the biggest polluters in the world. Standards for clean energy have been developed and are constantly evolving in countries throughout the world to prevent global warming and other long-term effects of pollution resulting from energy consumption. As a result of air quality issues and safety concerns, the green energy movement gained traction in many developed nations to offer an alternative to unsustainable energy sources and high pollution.
Green energy is considered to be energy derived from renewable resources that cause less global pollution than other energy types. Solar energy and wind energy are the forerunners that fit into this category of the energy industry, though their presence on the world stage is quite limited. While wind and solar energy are both cleaner energy sources, they also tend to be more expensive and more difficult to establish and maintain. Because of these difficulties, the presence of wind and solar energy has been limited to small areas in some countries, making other energy sources such as coal or oil vital to growing economies.
Retailers are an important part of the energy industry as well. Local gas stations provide an important outlet for the products large energy companies produce, and delivery companies can transport various energy sources from factory to fuel station. Even companies that deliver firewood to small towns or to areas of developing countries, or companies that develop and distribute batteries can be considered part of the energy industry since they provide an energy source to a population of people. Any company that has a hand in extracting, refining, delivering, or selling energy in any way can be considered part of the industry as well, regardless of how big or small a role that company plays in the overall process.