Portal:Renewable energy

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Introduction

Renewable energy (or green energy) is energy from renewable natural resources that are replenished on a human timescale. Using renewable energy technologies helps with climate change mitigation, energy security, and also has some economic benefits. Commonly used renewable energy types include solar energy, wind power, hydropower, bioenergy and geothermal power. Renewable energy installations can be large or small. They are suited for urban as well as rural areas. Renewable energy is often deployed together with further electrification. This has several benefits: electricity can move heat and vehicles efficiently, and is clean at the point of consumption. Variable renewable energy sources are those that have a fluctuating nature, such as wind power and solar power. In contrast, controllable renewable energy sources include dammed hydroelectricity, bioenergy, or geothermal power.

Renewable energy systems are rapidly becoming more efficient and cheaper. As a result, their share of global energy consumption is increasing. A large majority of worldwide newly installed electricity capacity is now renewable. In most countries, photovoltaic solar or onshore wind are the cheapest new-build electricity. Renewable energy can help reduce energy poverty in rural and remote areas of developing countries, where lack of energy access is often hindering economic development. Renewable energy resources exist all over the world. This is in contrast to fossil fuels resources which are concentrated in a limited number of countries.

There are also other renewable energy technologies that are still under development, for example enhanced geothermal systems, concentrated solar power, cellulosic ethanol, and marine energy.

From 2011 to 2021, renewable energy grew from 20% to 28% of global electricity supply. Use of fossil energy shrank from 68% to 62%, and nuclear from 12% to 10%. The share of hydropower decreased from 16% to 15% while power from sun and wind increased from 2% to 10%. Biomass and geothermal energy grew from 2% to 3%. In 2022, renewables accounted for 30% of global electricity generation, up from 21% in 1985.

Many countries around the world already have renewable energy contributing more than 20% of their total energy supply. Some countries generate over half their electricity from renewables. A few countries generate all their electricity from renewable energy. National renewable energy markets are projected to continue to grow strongly in the 2020s and beyond.

The deployment of renewable energy is being hindered by massive fossil fuel subsidies. In 2022 the International Energy Agency (IEA) requested all countries to reduce their policy, regulatory, permitting and financing obstacles for renewables. This would increase the chances of the world reaching net zero carbon emissions by 2050. According to the IEA, to achieve net zero emissions by 2050, 90% of global electricity generation will need to be produced from renewable sources.

Whether nuclear power is renewable energy or not is still controversial. There are also debates around geopolitics, the metal and mineral extraction needed for solar panels and batteries, possible installations in conservation areas and the need to recycle solar panels. Although most renewable energy sources are sustainable, some are not. For example, some biomass sources are unsustainable at current rates of exploitation. (Full article...)

Share of renewable energy in gross final energy consumption in selected European countries (2021)
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  10–20%
  20–30%
  30–40%
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Renewable energy progress in the European Union (EU) is driven by the European Commission's 2023 revision of the Renewable Energy Directive, which raises the EU's binding renewable energy target for 2030 to at least 42.5%, up from the previous target of 32%. Effective since November 20, 2023, across all EU countries, this directive aligns with broader climate objectives, including reducing greenhouse gas emissions by at least 55% by 2030 and achieving climate neutrality by 2050. Additionally, the Energy 2020 strategy exceeded its goals, with the EU achieving a 22.1% share of renewable energy in 2020, surpassing the 20% target.

The main source of renewable energy in 2019 was biomass (57.4% of gross energy consumption). In particular, wood is the leading source of renewable energy in Europe, far ahead of solar and wind. In 2020, renewables provided 23.1% of gross energy consumption in heating and cooling. In electricity, renewables accounted for 37.5% of gross energy consumption, led by wind (36%) and hydro-power (33%), followed by solar (14%), solid biofuels (8%) and other renewable sources (8%). In transport, the share of renewable energy used reached 10.2%.

In 2022, Sweden led among EU nations, with nearly two-thirds (66.0%) of its gross final energy consumption derived from renewable sources, followed by Finland (47.9%), Latvia (43.3%), Denmark (41.6%), and Estonia (38.5%). Conversely, the EU members reporting the lowest renewable energy proportions included Ireland (13.1%), Malta (13.4%), Belgium (13.8%), and Luxembourg (14.4%), with 17 out of the 27 falling below the EU average of 23.0%. (Full article...)
List of selected articles

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  • "People do not want electricity or oil ... but rather comfortable rooms, light, vehicular motion, food, tables, and other real things."
  • "There exists today a body of energy technologies that have certain specific features in common and that offer great technical, economic, and political attractions ... 'soft' energy technologies [which are] flexible, resilient, sustainable, and benign. They rely on renewable energy flows that are always there whether we use them of not, such as sun and wind and vegetation."
  • "Soft technologies' matching of energy quality to end-use needs virtually eliminates the costs and losses of secondary energy conversion, [and] the appropriate scale of soft technologies can virtually eliminate the costs and losses of energy distribution."

Amory Lovins, Soft Energy Paths, 1977, pp. 38–40.

Main topics

Renewable energy sources

General

Renewable energy commercialization · Smart grid · Timeline of sustainable energy research 2020–present

Renewable energy by country

List of countries by electricity production from renewable sources

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Lovins in 2011

Amory Bloch Lovins (born November 13, 1947) is an American writer, physicist, and former chairman/chief scientist of the Rocky Mountain Institute. He has written on energy policy and related areas for four decades, and served on the US National Petroleum Council, an oil industry lobbying group, from 2011 to 2018.

Lovins has promoted energy efficiency, the use of renewable energy sources, and the generation of energy at or near the site where the energy is actually used. Lovins has also advocated a "negawatt revolution" arguing that utility customers don't want kilowatt-hours of electricity; they want energy services. In the 1990s, his work with Rocky Mountain Institute included the design of an ultra-efficient automobile, the Hypercar. He has provided expert testimony and published 31 books, including Reinventing Fire, Winning the Oil Endgame, Small is Profitable, Brittle Power, and Natural Capitalism. (Full article...)

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... that The Clean Tech Revolution: The Next Big Growth and Investment Opportunity, the 2007 book by Ron Pernick and Clint Wilder, argues that commercializing clean technologies is a profitable enterprise that is moving steadily into mainstream business ? As the world economy faces challenges from energy price spikes, resource shortages, global environmental problems, and security threats, clean technologies are seen to be the next engine of economic growth.

Pernick and Wilder highlight eight major clean technology sectors: solar power, wind power, biofuels, green buildings, personal transportation, the smart grid, mobile applications (such as portable fuel cells), and water filtration. Very large corporations such as GE, Toyota and Sharp, and investment firms such as Goldman Sachs are making multi-billion dollar investments in clean technology.

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The following are images from various renewable energy-related articles on Wikipedia.

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