The Renewable Boom

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Since 2000 the commercialization of renewable energy sources has accelerated dramatically. The annual global production of solar cells, also known as photovoltaics, jumped 45 percent in 2005. The construction of new wind farms, particularly in Europe, has boosted the worldwide generating capacity of wind power 10-fold over the past decade. And the production of ethanol, the most common biofuel, soared to 36.5 billion liters last year, with the lion's share distilled from American-grown corn.

Photovoltaic Production

2,000

1,500

S 1,000

1,500

1980

1990

2000

1980

1990

2000

Wind Energy Generating Capacity

60,000

50,000 40,000

Wind Energy Generating Capacity

60,000

50,000 40,000

1980 1990

2000

1980 1990

Ethanol Production

2000

COMPETING ENERGY SOURCES Fraction of global electricity generation

Coal Oil

Natural gas

Nuclear

Hydropower

Nonhydropower renewables

Coal Oil

Natural gas

Nonhydropower renewables

Breakdown of nonhydropower renewables

Biomass

Wind

Geothermal I Solar

Geothermal I Solar

1980

1990

2000

Year

1980

1990

2000

Year

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Guide to Alternative Fuels

Guide to Alternative Fuels

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