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Renewable energy is useful energy that is collected from renewable resources, which are naturally replenished on a human timescale, including carbon neutral sources like sunlight, wind, rain, tides, waves, and geothermal heat. The term often also encompasses biomass as well, whose carbon neutral status is under debate. This type of energy source stands in contrast to fossil fuels, which are being used far more quickly than they are being replenished.

Renewable energy often provides energy in four important areas: electricity generation, air and water heating/cooling, transportation, and rural (off-grid) energy services.

Based on REN21's 2017 report, renewables contributed 19.3% to humans' global energy consumption and 24.5% to their generation of electricity in 2015 and 2016, respectively. This energy consumption is divided as 8.9% coming from traditional biomass, 4.2% as heat energy (modern biomass, geothermal and solar heat), 3.9% from hydroelectricity and the remaining 2.2% is electricity from wind, solar, geothermal, and other forms of biomass. Worldwide investments in renewable technologies amounted to more than US$286 billion in 2015. In 2017, worldwide investments in renewable energy amounted to US$279.8 billion with China accounting for US$126.6 billion or 45% of the global investments, the United States for US$40.5 billion and Europe for US$40.9 billion. Globally there were an estimated 10.5 million jobs associated with the renewable energy industries, with solar photovoltaics being the largest renewable employer. Renewable energy systems are rapidly becoming more efficient and cheaper and their share of total energy consumption is increasing. As of 2019, more than two-thirds of worldwide newly installed electricity capacity was renewable. Growth in consumption of coal and oil could end by 2020 due to increased uptake of renewables and natural gas.

At the national level, at least 30 nations around the world already have renewable energy contributing more than 20 percent of energy supply. National renewable energy markets are projected to continue to grow strongly in the coming decade and beyond. At least two countries, Iceland and Norway, generate all their electricity using renewable energy already, and many other countries have the set a goal to reach 100% renewable energy in the future. At least 47 nations around the world already have over 50 percent of electricity from renewable resources. Renewable energy resources exist over wide geographical areas, in contrast to fossil fuels, which are concentrated in a limited number of countries. Rapid deployment of renewable energy and energy efficiency technologies is resulting in significant energy security, climate change mitigation, and economic benefits. In international public opinion surveys there is strong support for promoting renewable sources such as solar power and wind power.

While many renewable energy projects are large-scale, renewable technologies are also suited to rural and remote areas and developing countries, where energy is often crucial in human development. As most of renewable energy technologies provide electricity, renewable energy deployment is often applied in conjunction with further electrification, which has several benefits: electricity can be converted to heat, can be converted into mechanical energy with high efficiency, and is clean at the point of consumption. In addition, electrification with renewable energy is more efficient and therefore leads to significant reductions in primary energy requirements. (Full article...)

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Wave power is the capture of energy of wind waves to do useful work – for example, electricity generation, water desalination, or pumping water. A machine that exploits wave power is a wave energy converter (WEC).

Wave power is distinct from tidal power, which captures the energy of the current caused by the gravitational pull of the Sun and Moon. Waves and tides are also distinct from ocean currents which are caused by other forces including breaking waves, wind, the Coriolis effect, cabbeling, and differences in temperature and salinity.

Wave-power generation is not a widely employed commercial technology compared to other established renewable energy sources such as wind power, hydropower and solar power. However, there have been attempts to use this source of energy since at least 1890 mainly due to its high power density. As a comparison, the power density of the photovoltaic panels is 1 kW/m2 at peak solar insolation, and the power density of the wind is 1 kW/m2 at 12 m/s. Whereas, the average annual power density of the waves at e.g. San Francisco coast is 25 kW/m2. (Full article...)
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Quotations -

  • "The variability of sun, wind and so on, turns out to be a non-problem if you do several sensible things. One is to diversify your renewables by technology, so that weather conditions bad for one kind are good for another. Second, you diversify by site so they're not all subject to the same weather pattern at the same time because they're in the same place. Third, you use standard weather forecasting techniques to forecast wind, sun and rain, and of course hydro operators do this right now. Fourth, you integrate all your resources — supply side and demand side..." – Amory Lovins
  • "Because the wind blows during stormy conditions when the sun does not shine and the sun often shines on calm days with little wind, combining wind and solar can go a long way toward meeting demand, especially when geothermal provides a steady base and hydroelectric can be called on to fill in the gaps". – Mark Z. Jacobson and Mark A. Delucchi. Scientific American, November 2009, p. 43.


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Offshore wind turbines at Barrow, off Walney Island in the Irish Sea
Barrow Offshore Wind Farm, in the East Irish Sea, west of Walney Island, England.

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Dan Reicher.jpeg

Dan William Reicher is an American lawyer who was U.S. Assistant Secretary of Energy for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy at the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) in the Clinton Administration. Reicher is currently Executive Director of the Steyer-Taylor Center for Energy Policy and Finance at Stanford University, a joint center of the Stanford Graduate School of Business and Stanford Law School, where he also holds faculty positions. Reicher joined Stanford in 2011 from Google, where he served since 2007 as Director of Climate Change and Energy Initiatives for the company's venture Google.org.

Reicher also served as an advisor to the 2008 Obama campaign and a member of the Obama Transition Team where he focused on the energy portions of the Obama stimulus package. (Full article...)

Did you know? -

... that the Exelon Pavilions, a set of four solar energy generating structures in Millennium Park of Chicago, provide sufficient energy to power the equivalent of 14 star-rated energy-efficient houses in Chicago ? In addition to producing energy, three of the four pavilions provide access to the park's below ground parking garages and the fourth serves as the park's welcoming center. Exelon, a company that generates the electricity transmitted by its subsidiary Commonwealth Edison, donated approximately $5–6 million for the Pavilions.

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