Electronics & Semiconductors

Researchers develop eco-friendly color thin-film solar cells

Research on solar cells to secure renewable energy sources are ongoing around the world. The Electronics and Telecommunications Research Institute (ETRI) in South Korea succeeded in developing eco-friendly color Cu(In,Ga)Se2 ...

Energy & Green Tech

Renewables now EU's biggest source of electricity: study

Renewable energy sources such as the wind and the sun overtook fossil fuels as the European Union's main generators of electricity in the first half of this year, according to a new report published on Wednesday.


Report details best practices for concentrating solar power

So you want to build a concentrating solar power (CSP) plant. Have you developed a technical specification that clearly defines the key project requirements? Does your team have the relevant experience and knowledge to successfully ...

Energy & Green Tech

Water vapor in the atmosphere may be prime renewable energy source

The search for renewable energy sources, which include wind, solar, hydroelectric dams, geothermal, and biomass, has preoccupied scientists and policymakers alike, due to their enormous potential in the fight against climate ...

Energy & Green Tech

France shuts oldest reactors, but nuclear power still reigns

France will start closing its oldest atomic power plant on Saturday after 43 years in operation, the first in a series of reactor shutdowns but hardly a signal the country will reduce its reliance on nuclear energy anytime ...

Energy & Green Tech

Could water solve the renewable energy storage challenge?

Seasonal pumped hydropower storage (SPHS), an already established yet infrequently used technology, could be an affordable and sustainable solution to store energy and water on an annual scale, according to new IIASA research ...

Energy & Green Tech

Instant hydrogen production for powering fuel cells

Since the Industrial Revolution, the environmental impacts of energy have posed a concern. Recently, this has driven researchers to search for viable options for clean and renewable energy sources.

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Renewable energy

Renewable energy is energy generated from natural resources—such as sunlight, wind, rain, tides, and geothermal heat—which are renewable (naturally replenished). In 2006, about 18% of global final energy consumption came from renewables, with 13% coming from traditional biomass, such as wood-burning. Hydroelectricity was the next largest renewable source, providing 3% of global energy consumption and 15% of global electricity generation.

Wind power is growing at the rate of 30 percent annually, with a worldwide installed capacity of 121,000 megawatts (MW) in 2008, and is widely used in European countries and the United States. The annual manufacturing output of the photovoltaics industry reached 6,900 MW in 2008, and photovoltaic (PV) power stations are popular in Germany and Spain. Solar thermal power stations operate in the USA and Spain, and the largest of these is the 354 MW SEGS power plant in the Mojave Desert. The world's largest geothermal power installation is The Geysers in California, with a rated capacity of 750 MW. Brazil has one of the largest renewable energy programs in the world, involving production of ethanol fuel from sugar cane, and ethanol now provides 18 percent of the country's automotive fuel. Ethanol fuel is also widely available in the USA. While most renewable energy projects and production is large-scale, renewable technologies are also suited to small off-grid applications, sometimes in rural and remote areas, where energy is often crucial in human development. Kenya has the world's highest household solar ownership rate with roughly 30,000 small (20–100 watt) solar power systems sold per year.

Some renewable energy technologies are criticised for being intermittent or unsightly, yet the renewable energy market continues to grow. Climate change concerns coupled with high oil prices, peak oil and increasing government support are driving increasing renewable energy legislation, incentives and commercialization. New government spending, regulation, and policies should help the industry weather the 2009 economic crisis better than many other sectors.

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