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Portal:Renewable energy

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Renewable energy capacity additions in 2020 expanded by more than 45% from 2019, including a 90% rise in global wind capacity (green) and a 23% expansion of new solar photovoltaic installations (yellow).

Renewable energy is useful energy that is collected from renewable resources, which are naturally replenished on a human timescale, including carbon neutral sources like sunlight, wind, rain, tides, waves, and geothermal heat. This type of energy source stands in contrast to fossil fuels, which are being used far more quickly than they are being replenished. Although most renewable energy is sustainable energy, some is not, for example some biomass is unsustainable.

Renewable energy often provides energy in four important areas: electricity generation, air and water heating/ cooling, transportation, and rural (off-grid) energy services.

Based on REN21's 2017 report, renewables contributed 19.3% to humans' global energy consumption and 24.5% to their generation of electricity in 2015 and 2016, respectively. This energy consumption is divided as 8.9% coming from traditional biomass, 4.2% as heat energy (modern biomass, geothermal and solar heat), 3.9% from hydroelectricity and the remaining 2.2% is electricity from wind, solar, geothermal, and other forms of biomass. In 2017, worldwide investments in renewable energy amounted to US$279.8 billion with China accounting for 45% of the global investments, and the United States and Europe both around 15%. Globally there were an estimated 10.5 million jobs associated with the renewable energy industries, with solar photovoltaics being the largest renewable employer. Renewable energy systems are rapidly becoming more efficient and cheaper and their share of total energy consumption is increasing. As of 2019, more than two-thirds of worldwide newly installed electricity capacity was renewable. Growth in consumption of coal and oil could end by 2020 due to increased uptake of renewables and natural gas. As of 2020, in most countries, photovoltaic solar and onshore wind are the cheapest forms of building new electricity-generating plants.

At the national level, at least 30 nations around the world already have renewable energy contributing more than 20 percent of their energy supply. National renewable energy markets are projected to continue to grow strongly in the coming decade and beyond. At least two countries, Iceland and Norway, generate all their electricity using renewable energy already, and many other countries have the set a goal to reach 100% renewable energy in the future. At least 47 nations around the world already have over 50 percent of electricity from renewable resources. Renewable energy resources exist over wide geographical areas, in contrast to fossil fuels, which are concentrated in a limited number of countries. Rapid deployment of renewable energy and energy efficiency technologies is resulting in significant energy security, climate change mitigation, and economic benefits. In international public opinion surveys there is strong support for promoting renewable sources such as solar power and wind power.

While many renewable energy projects are large-scale, renewable technologies are also suited to rural and remote areas and developing countries, where energy is often crucial in human development. As most of renewable energy technologies provide electricity, renewable energy deployment is often applied in conjunction with further electrification, which has several benefits: electricity can be converted to heat, can be converted into mechanical energy with high efficiency, and is clean at the point of consumption. In addition, electrification with renewable energy is more efficient and therefore leads to significant reductions in primary energy requirements. ( Full article...)

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Photovoltaic arrays at the Israel National Solar Energy Center

The use of solar energy began in Israel in the 1950s with the development by Levi Yissar of a solar water heater to address the energy shortages that plagued the new country. By 1967 around 5% of water of households was solar heated and 50,000 solar heaters had been sold. With the 1970s oil crisis, Harry Zvi Tabor developed the prototype of the solar water heater now used in over 90% of Israeli homes. There are over 1.3 million solar water heaters installed as a result of mandatory solar water heating regulations.

Israeli engineers have been at the cutting edge of solar energy technology and its solar companies work on projects around the world. However, even though Israeli engineers have been involved in both photovoltaic and concentrated solar power, the earliest Israeli companies which have become market leaders in their respective fields have all been involved in concentrated solar power. Some notable examples of this are BrightSource, Solel and Brenmiller Energy which all deal with utility scale projects. Additionally, Herzliya based SolarEdge has become a market leader in inverters for non-utility scale photovoltaic solar power.

In 2009, Israel found natural gas reserves within their exclusive economic zone which may reduce urgency of solar development. Solar technology in Israel has advanced to the point where it is almost cost-competitive with fossil fuels. The high annual incidence of sunshine in the Negev Desert has spurred an internationally renowned solar research and development industry. At the end of 2008, a feed-in tariff scheme was approved which has led to many residential and commercial solar energy power station projects. ( Full article...)
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  • "We need to push ourselves to make as many reductions as possible in our own energy use first.. and that takes time. But we must do this quickly.. the climate will not wait for us." - Rupert Murdoch


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Hermann Scheer (2008)

Hermann Scheer (29 April 1944 – 14 October 2010) was a Social Democrat member of the German Bundestag (parliament), President of Eurosolar (European Association for Renewable Energy) and General Chairman of the World Council for Renewable Energy. In 1999, Scheer was awarded the Right Livelihood Award for his "indefatigable work for the promotion of solar energy worldwide".

Scheer believed that the continuation of current patterns of energy supply and use would be environmentally, socially, economically, and politically damaging, with renewable energy being the only realistic alternative. Scheer had concluded that it is technically and environmentally feasible to harness enough solar radiation to achieve a total replacement of the foclear (fossil/nuclear) energy system by a global renewable energy economy. The main obstacle to such a change is seen to be political, not technical or economic. In 1999 he was one of the initiators of the German feed-in tariffs that were the major source of the rise of renewable energies in Germany during the following years. ( Full article...)

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... that the first recorded instance of solar distillation was by 16th century Arab alchemists? A large-scale solar distillation project was first constructed in 1872 in Chile a mining town of Las Salinas. The plant, which had a solar collection area of 4,700 m², could produce up to 22,700  L per day and operated for 40 years. Individual still designs include single-slope, double-slope (or greenhouse type), vertical, conical, inverted absorber, multi-wick, and multiple effect. These stills can operate in passive, active, or hybrid modes. Double-slope stills are the most economical for decentralized domestic purposes, while active multiple effect units are more suitable for large-scale applications.

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