Box Definition of renewable energy

In a broad sense, the term 'renewable energy sources' refers to hydro energy, biomass energy, solar energy, wind energy, geothermal energy and ocean energy. The term 'new' renewables suggests a greater focus on modern and sustainable forms of renewable energy. In particular, these are modern biomass energy, geothermal heat and electricity, small-scale hydropower, low-temperature solar heat, wind electricity, solar photovoltaic and thermal electricity, and ocean energy (tidal, wave, current, ocean thermal, osmotic and marine biomass energy).

In 2004, renewable energy provided 17 per cent of global primary energy consumption, mostly traditional biomass, and about 19 per cent of electricity, mostly large-scale hydropower. 'New' renewables contributed only 2 per cent of the world's primary energy use. However, 'new' renewables, often based on indigenous resources, have the potential to provide energy services with low or zero emissions of both air pollutants and greenhouse gases.

Discussions on biomass as a source of energy are sometimes clouded by problems of definition. The term 'combustible renewables and waste' includes all vegetable and animal matter used directly or converted to solid fuels, as well as biomass-derived gaseous and liquid fuels, and industrial and municipal waste converted to modern energy carriers. The main biomass fuels in developing countries are firewood, charcoal, agricultural residues and dung, often referred to as traditional biomass. The major challenge facing biomass is to shift towards sustainable technologies and systems while reducing costs.

A rapid expansion of energy systems based on renewable energy sources will require actions to stimulate the market in this direction. This expansion can be achieved by finding ways to drive down the relative cost of 'new' renewables in their early stages of development and commercialization, while still taking advantage of the economic efficiencies of the marketplace. Pricing based on the full costs of conventional energy sources (including phasing out subsidies and internalizing externalities) will make 'new' renewables more competitive. However, such measures remain controversial. In any case, barriers stand in the way of the accelerated development of renewable technologies, which can only be overcome by appropriate frameworks and policies.

This chapter comprises several sections. The first section discusses the theoretical and technical potentials of renewable energy resources and technologies with subsections on technology options and status, and the associated environmental and social issues. The second section explores the economic potentials of renewable energy, with a particular focus on cost reductions and technological development. The third section outlines a selection of scenarios that have been developed to illustrate future energy systems. The fourth section looks at the markets where renewable energy might compete and make a difference, particularly in the case of developing countries. The fifth section identifies the barriers that renewable energy innovations confront all along the innovation chain, and highlights the role played by industrialized countries in developing and disseminating novel technologies. The chapter concludes with policy implications and recommendations that relate to many sectors, including land use, agriculture, buildings, transportation and urban planning.

Solar Panel Basics

Solar Panel Basics

Global warming is a huge problem which will significantly affect every country in the world. Many people all over the world are trying to do whatever they can to help combat the effects of global warming. One of the ways that people can fight global warming is to reduce their dependence on non-renewable energy sources like oil and petroleum based products.

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