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Portal:Renewable energy

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Burbo Bank Offshore Wind Farm, at the entrance to the River Mersey in North West England.

Renewable energy is generally defined as energy that comes from resources which are naturally replenished on a human timescale such as sunlight, wind, rain, tides, waves and geothermal heat. Renewable energy replaces conventional fuels in four distinct areas: electricity generation, hot water/space heating, motor fuels, and rural (off-grid) energy services.

Based on REN21's 2014 report, renewables contributed 19 percent to our energy consumption and 22 percent to our electricity generation in 2012 and 2013, respectively. Modern renewables (such as hydro, wind, solar and biofuels) and traditional biomass contributed in about equal parts to the global energy supply. Worldwide investments in renewable technologies amounted to more than US$ 214 billion in 2013, with countries like China and the United States heavily investing in wind, hydro, solar and biofuels.

Renewable energy resources exist over wide geographical areas, in contrast to other energy sources, which are concentrated in a limited number of countries. Rapid deployment of renewable energy and energy efficiency 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. 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.

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. United Nations' Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has said that renewable energy has the ability to lift the poorest nations to new levels of prosperity.

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Alternative Energies

Renewable energy commercialization involves the diffusion of three generations of renewable energy technologies dating back more than 100 years. First-generation technologies, which are already mature and economically competitive, include biomass, hydroelectricity, geothermal power and heat. Second-generation technologies are market-ready and are being deployed at the present time; they include solar heating, photovoltaics, wind power, solar thermal power stations, and modern forms of bioenergy. Third-generation technologies require continued R&D efforts in order to make large contributions on a global scale and include advanced biomass gasification, biorefinery technologies, hot-dry-rock geothermal power, and ocean energy.

There are some non-technical barriers to the widespread use of renewables, and it is often public policy and political leadership that drive the widespread acceptance of renewable energy technologies. Some 85 countries now have targets for their own renewable energy futures, and have enacted wide-ranging public policies to promote renewables. Climate change concerns are driving increasing growth in the renewable energy industries. Leading renewable energy companies include First Solar, Gamesa, GE Energy, Q-Cells, Sharp Solar, Siemens, SunOpta, Suntech, and Vestas.


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View of the offshore wind farm at Middelgrunden, near Copenhagen
The Middelgrunden offshore wind farm in Øresund, delivers about 4% of the power for Copenhagen.
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Stefan Krauter 2005.jpg

Stefan Krauter is Professor and Entrepreneur in the area of Renewable Energies. His activities in research, teaching and business are directed to establish a global sustainable energy supply. He specialized in the direct conversion of sunlight into electricity - photovoltaics.

He initiated and organized in Rio de Janeiro several congresses (RIO 02/3/5/6/9 - World Climate & Energy Events) and the Latin America Renewable Energy Fair (LAREF), to sustain the vision of the UNCED Earth Summit of Rio 1992 in that area.


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Did you know?

... that Selling Solar: The Diffusion of Renewable Energy in Emerging Markets, a 2009 Earthscan book by Damian Miller, argues that in order to solve the climate crisis, the world must immediately and dramatically accelerate the commercialization of renewable energy technology ? This needs to happen in the industrialized world, as well as in the emerging markets of the developing world where most future GHG emissions will occur.

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  • May 19, 2016: Final turbine of the 582MW German offshore Gode Wind Farm installed. (ReCharge)
  • May 18, 2016: Renewable energy in Portugal supplies 100% of demand over four days in a row. (The Guardian)
  • April 29, 2016: The Australian Capital Territory lifts its renewable energy target to 100% by 2020. (The Canberra Times)
  • March 15, 2016: Bokpoort concentrated solar power inaugurated in South Africa. (ESI Africa)
  • March 5, 2016: The 132MW Cadiz Solar Power Plant in the Philippines, the largest in Southeast Asia opens. (Deal Street Asia)
  • February 5, 2016: Morocco completes the Noor 1 solar plant, the first stage of a 500MW project (The Japan Times)
  • December 17, 2015: The 113MW Tafila Wind Farm in Jordan is inaugurated. (PR Newswire)
  • December 2, 2015: The 300MW Cestas solar plant, the largest photovoltaic power station in Europe, is inaugurated near Bordeaux. (RenewEconomy)
  • December 1, 2015: The 200MW Gulf of El-Zayt wind farm - the largest in Africa- is inaugurated in Egypt. (African Review)
  • November 26, 2015: Mauritania's first wind farm inaugurated. (North Africa Post)
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  • "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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