Renewable Energy

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Renewable energy is energy that comes from resources which are continually replenished such as sunlight, wind, rain, tides, waves and geothermal heat. About 16% of global final energy consumption comes from renewable resources, with 10% of all energy from traditional biomass, mainly used for heating, and 3.4% from hydroelectricity. New renewables (small hydro, modern biomass, wind, solar, geothermal, and biofuels) accounted for another 3% and are growing very rapidly.[1] The share of renewables in electricity generation is around 19%, with 16% of electricity coming from hydroelectricity and 3% from new renewables.[1] The use of wind power is increasing at an annual rate of 20%, with a worldwide installed capacity of 238,000 megawatts (MW) at the end of 2011,[2][3][4] and is widely used in Europe, Asia, and the United States.[5] Since 2004, photovoltaics passed wind as the fastest growing energy source, and since 2007 has more than doubled every two years. At the end of 2011 the photovoltaic (PV) capacity worldwide was 67,000 MW, and PV power stations are popular in Germany and Italy.[6] 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.[7] 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 sugarcane, and ethanol now provides 18% of the country's automotive fuel.[8] Ethanol fuel is also widely available in the USA. While many renewable energy projects are large-scale, renewable technologies are also suited to rural and remote areas, where energy is often crucial in human development.[9] As of 2011, small solar PV systems provide electricity to a few million households, and micro-hydro configured into mini-grids serves many more. Over 44 million households use biogas made in household-scale digesters for...
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