Would a carbon tax help to innovate more-efficient energy use?

Taxing carbon emissions would drive innovation and lead to improved energy efficiency, according to a new paper published in Joule from Carnegie's Rong Wang (now at Fudan University), Harry Saunders, and Ken Caldeira, along ...

What the climate crisis means for land rights

The climate crisis will reshape our relationships to land around the world. Journalist David Wallace-Wells warns that, once the planet warms 2°C above preindustrial levels—the target set by the Paris Agreement—"major ...

Ammonia for fuel cells

Fuel cells are pollution-free power sources that convert chemical energy to electricity with high efficiency and zero emissions. Fuel cell cars, trucks, and buses would allow people to travel long distances with convenient ...

Shift to renewable electricity a win-win at statewide level

Amid rollbacks of the Clean Power Plan and other environmental regulations at the federal level, several U.S. states, cities, and towns have resolved to take matters into their own hands and implement policies to promote ...

Promising new solar-powered path to hydrogen fuel production

Engineers at Lehigh University are the first to utilize a single enzyme biomineralization process to create a catalyst that uses the energy of captured sunlight to split water molecules to produce hydrogen. The synthesis ...

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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.

This text uses material from Wikipedia, licensed under CC BY-SA