Renewable energy commercialization
Renewable energy commercialization involves many different technologies, including solar photovoltaics, solar thermal power plants, solar heating and cooling systems, wind power, hydroelectricity, geothermal power, biomass, and ocean energy systems. Each is at a different stage of development, yet the market is growing for many renewables.
Wind power is growing at the rate of 30% annually, with a worldwide installed capacity of 158 gigawatts (GW) in 2009, and is widely used in Europe, Asia, and the United States. At the end of 2009, cumulative global photovoltaic (PV) installations surpassed 21 GW and 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 megawatt (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% of the country's automotive fuel. 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. Globally, an estimated 3 million households get power from small solar PV systems. Micro-hydro systems configured into village-scale or county-scale mini-grids serve many areas. More than 30 million rural households get lighting and cooking from biogas made in household-scale digesters. Biomass cookstoves are used by 160 million households.
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 helped the industry weather the 2009 economic crisis better than many other sectors.
- List of renewable energy topics
- Renewable energy commercialisation in Australia
- Renewable energy commercialization in the United States
- GWEC, Global Wind Report Annual Market Update
- International Energy Agency (2007). Renewables in global energy supply: An IEA facts sheet, OECD, 34 pages.
- Lars Kroldrup. Gains in Global Wind Capacity Reported Green Inc., February 15, 2010.
- REN21 (2009). Renewables Global Status Report: 2009 Update p. 9.
- Global wind energy markets continue to boom – 2006 another record year (PDF).
- James Russell. Record Growth in Photovoltaic Capacity and Momentum Builds for Concentrating Solar Power Vital Signs, June 03, 2010.
- REN21 (2009). Renewables Global Status Report: 2009 Update p. 12.
- REN21 (2009). Renewables Global Status Report: 2009 Update p. 15.
- World's largest photovoltaic power plants
- Solar Trough Power Plants (PDF).
- America and Brazil Intersect on Ethanol
- World Energy Assessment (2001). Renewable energy technologies, p. 221.
- REN21 (2010). Renewables 2010 Global Status Report p. 12.
- United Nations Environment Programme Global Trends in Sustainable Energy Investment 2007: Analysis of Trends and Issues in the Financing of Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency in OECD and Developing Countries (PDF), p. 3.
- Clean Edge (2009). Clean Energy Trends 2009 pp. 1-4.