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. Both, modern renewables, such as hydro, wind, solar and biofuels, as well as 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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Nellis Solar Power Plant in the United States, the largest photovoltaic power plant in North America.

Solar energy, radiant light and heat from the sun, has been harnessed by humans since ancient times using a range of ever-evolving technologies. Solar radiation, along with secondary solar-powered resources such as wind and wave power, hydroelectricity and biomass, account for most of the available renewable energy on earth. Only a minuscule fraction of the available solar energy is used.

Solar powered electrical generation relies on heat engines and photovoltaics. Solar energy's uses are limited only by human ingenuity. A partial list of solar applications includes space heating and cooling through solar architecture, potable water via distillation and disinfection, daylighting, solar hot water, solar cooking, and high temperature process heat for industrial purposes. To harvest the solar energy, the most common way is to use solar panels.

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... that REN21, the Renewable Energy Policy Network for the 21st Century, is a policy network that provides a forum for international leadership in renewable energy policy, in order to share knowledge and facilitate the rapid growth of renewable energy technologies in developing countries and industrialised economies ?

The network launched in June 2005, operates from offices in Paris, France, and is provided by the United Nations Environment Programme and the Deutsche Gesellschaft für International Zusammenarbeit in collaboration with the International Energy Agency. Since 2005 REN21 has produced an annual Renewables Global Status Report, with Eric Martinot and Janet Sawin as lead authors.

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Quotations

  • "The sun provides more energy in one hour than all humanity uses, in all forms, in a single year. Sunlight can provide us with its own resolution to our energy problems. The only transformation required is for humanity to reduce, or end, consumption of stored solar (as fossil fuels) and, in its place, use freely available 'fresh' solar". – David S. Findley (2010). Solar power for your home, p.12.

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