Renewable Energy

Hydroelectric, solar, wind, biomass, and geothermal resources are the five categories of renewable energy resources depicted in figure 6.10. With the exception of geothermal energy, solar radiation provides most of the energy that drives the renewable cycles. The facts in this section focus largely on the potential of renewable sources to generate electricity from hydroelectric, solar, wind, and geothermal resources. Statistics for biomass are difficult to determine because often these resources are not commercially traded. It is important to point out that renewable sources can also provide a variety of direct energy uses (i.e., not electricity generation).

Sources: 1. Gary Alexander, "Overview: The Context of Renewable Energy Technologies," in Godfrey Boyle, ed. Renewable Energy: Power for a Sustainable Future (Oxford: Oxford University Press), p. 28.

2. Energy Information Administration, International Energy Annual 2004, International Electricity Generation Tables. Table posted July 7, 2006. http://www.eia.doe.gov/emeu/international/ electricitygeneration.html. Accessed November 4, 2006.

3. Soren Varming, "Wind Energy," in 2004 Survey of Energy Resources: 20th Edition. World Energy Council (Amersterdam: Elsevier), p. 69.

4. Lucien Bronicki and Michael Lax. "Geothermal Energy," in 2004 Survey of Energy Resources 20th Edition. World Energy Council (Amersterdam: Elsevier), p. 346-348.

Hydropower accounts for 6 percent of the energy consumed worldwide (figure 6.2). It is of greatest importance in developing regions of the world. For example, in 2004, hydropower accounted for 26 percent of the energy consumed in Central and South America. Table 6.9 details the hydroelectricity generated worldwide in 2004 by region. Despite opposition to large dams and diversion projects, the development of hydropower resources is likely to grow in the future.

There are three primary end uses for solar energy: photovoltaic (PV) cells for the generation of electricity, solar thermal systems used for hot water and space heating, and large-scale solar thermal power plants. Because there are a variety of end uses, and because solar energy is often not commercially traded, it is difficult to monitor how much total energy is being harnessed from solar radiation on a global scale. Additionally, many solar technologies are still being developed. Consequently, they are not as readily available as fossil fueled technologies. Because of these factors, statistics on solar energy use are limited. The technology is growing, however, and many companies are exploring the market potential of PV cells. Table 6.10 details the top ten PV manufacturers in the world. The World Energy Council estimated that in 2002 there was approximately 1,500 MW of PV capacity installed globally (Silvi 2004, 298). Since PV cells are used in both grid-connected and nongrid-connected systems, it is impossible to determine the total amount of power generated from this technology.

TABLE 6.9

World Hydroelectricity Capacity, Generation, and Consumption by Region (2004)

TABLE 6.9

World Hydroelectricity Capacity, Generation, and Consumption by Region (2004)

Region

Hydroelectric Capacity

Hydroelectric generation

Hydroelectric consumption

(GW)

(billion kWh)

(billion kWh)

Africa

21.068

87.43

87.43

Asia and Oceania

198.181

664.00

664.00

Central and South America 122.224

577.08

577.08

Eurasia

66.920

233.09

233.09

Europe

167.205

543.56

543.56

Middle East

6.499

14.11

14.11

North America

157.488

627.61

627.61

World Total

739.585

2,746.88

2,746.88

Source: Energy Information Administration (EIA), 2006, "International Electricity Generation Tables," International Energy Annual 2004, http://www.eia.doe.gov/emeu/international/electricitygeneration.html. Accessed November 6, 2006.

Source: Energy Information Administration (EIA), 2006, "International Electricity Generation Tables," International Energy Annual 2004, http://www.eia.doe.gov/emeu/international/electricitygeneration.html. Accessed November 6, 2006.

Rank

PV Manufacturer

Country

Capacity (MW) (2002)

]

Sharp

Japan

123.1

2

BP Solar

United Kingdom

73.8

3

Kyocera

Japan

60.0

4

Shell

United Kingdom

57.5

5

Sanyo Electric

Japan

35.0

6

AstroPower

United States

29.7

7

RWE Solar

Germany

29.5

B

Isofoton

Spain

27.4

9

Mitsubishi Electric

Japan

24.0

]0

Photowatt

France

17.0

Source: Cesare Silvi, 2004, "Solar Energy." In 2004 Survey of Energy Resources, V

Yorld Energy Council 298.

Amsterdam: Elsevier. 20th ed.

TABLE 6.11

Wind-Electric Capacity and Generation by Region (2002)

Region

Installed Capacity (MWe)

Electricity Generation (GWh)

Africa

144

430

Asia

2,627

5,379

Central and South America

132

44]

Oceania

144

496

Middle East

20

5]

North America

4927

]2460

Europe (including Eurasia)

23,404

3B,676

World Total

31,398

57,933

Source: Soren Varming, "Wind Energy." In 2004 Survey of Energy Resources, World Energy Council 369. Amsterdam: Elsevier. 20th ed.

Wind energy is also becoming an important renewable resource for regions looking to harness renewable sources of energy. In 2002, there was a total of 31,400 MW of installed electric capacity from wind energy (Varming 2004, 364). Table 6.11 provides data on the regional capacity and generation of wind energy worldwide in 2002. Table 6.12 examines the top ten wind energy producing countries for that same year.

Rank

Country

Installed Capacity (MWe)

Annual Output (GWh)

1

Germany

12,001

16,800

2

Spain

4,825

9,792

3

United States

4,685

12,000

4

Denmark

2,889

4,877

5

India

1,702

3,700

6

Italy

788

1,600

7

Netherlands

693

1,200

8

United Kingdom

552

1,450

9

China

468

1,000

10

Japan

415

598

Source: Soren Varming, "Wind Energy." In 2004 Survey of Energy Resources, World Energy Council 369. Amsterdam: Elsevier. 20th ed.

Source: Soren Varming, "Wind Energy." In 2004 Survey of Energy Resources, World Energy Council 369. Amsterdam: Elsevier. 20th ed.

TABLE 6.13

Geothermal Electric and Direct-Use Capacity by Region (2002)

TABLE 6.13

Geothermal Electric and Direct-Use Capacity by Region (2002)

Region

Installed Electrical Capacity (MWe)

Installed Direct Use Capacity (MWt)

Africa

57

121

Asia

3,332

4,284

Central and South America

374

46

Oceania

448

318

Middle East

0

216

North America

2,855

5,908

Europe (including Eurasia)

1,154

6,107

World Total

8,220

17,000

Source: Lucien Bronicki and Michael Lax, "Geothermal Energy," in 2004 Survey of Energy Resources, World Energy Council 346-348. Amsterdam: Elsevier. 20th ed.

Source: Lucien Bronicki and Michael Lax, "Geothermal Energy," in 2004 Survey of Energy Resources, World Energy Council 346-348. Amsterdam: Elsevier. 20th ed.

Geothermal energy is the final category of resources discussed in this chapter. There are a total of twenty-one countries that utilize geothermal resources for both electricity generation and direct uses, such as heating. Figure 6.10 depicts four types of geothermal resources: hydrothermal, geopressurized, hot dry rock (also known as enhanced geothermal systems), and magma. Of these, hydrothermal resources are the most utilized. Table 6.13 provides an overview of both the installed electric and direct use capacities by region in 2002.

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