Renewable energy commercialization involves the deployment of three generations of renewable energy technologies dating back more than 100 years. There are now 144 countries with renewable energy policy targets. Renewable energy continued its rapid growth in 2015, providing multiple benefits. Climate change concerns are also driving increasing growth in the renewable energy industries. Renewable energy technologies are essential contributors to the energy supply portfolio, as they contribute to world energy security, reduce dependency on fossil fuels, and provide opportunities for mitigating greenhouse gases. The new energy economy harnesses the energy in wind, the energy coming from the sun, and heat from within the earth itself.
These methods include promoting renewable sources such as solar power and wind power, requiring utilities to use more renewable energy, and providing tax incentives to encourage the development and use of such technologies. EU member countries have shown support for ambitious renewable energy goals. Selected renewable energy indicators
Existing renewables power capacity, excluding large hydro
200 29.7 30 billion liters
Countries with policy targets for renewable energy use China's renewable energy sector is growing faster than its fossil fuels and nuclear power capacity. As Chinese renewable manufacturing has grown, the costs of renewable energy technologies have dropped. See also renewable energy in the United States for US-figures.
Renewable energy costs continue to drop, and the levelised cost of electricity (LCOE) is declining for wind power, solar photovoltaic (PV), concentrated solar power (CSP) and some biomass technologies. As of 2012, renewable power generation technologies accounted for around half of all new power generation capacity additions globally. Renewable energy includes a number of sources and technologies at different stages of commercialization. Wind power could become cheaper than nuclear power. Third-generation renewable energy technologies are still under development and include advanced biomass gasification, biorefinery technologies, hot-dry-rock geothermal power, and ocean energy. Ocean energy is all forms of renewable energy derived from the sea including wave energy, tidal energy, river current, ocean current energy, offshore wind, salinity gradient energy and ocean thermal gradient energy. The Solar updraft tower (SUT) is a renewable-energy power plant for generating electricity from low temperature solar heat. These barriers are impediments which put renewable energy at a marketing, institutional, or policy disadvantage relative to other forms of energy. Lack of government policy support, which includes the lack of policies and regulations supporting deployment of renewable energy technologies and the presence of policies and regulations hindering renewable energy development and supporting conventional energy development. Examples include subsidies for fossil-fuels, insufficient consumer-based renewable energy incentives, government underwriting for nuclear plant accidents, and complex zoning and permitting processes for renewable energy. Higher capital cost of renewable energy technologies compared with conventional energy technologies. Poor public perception of renewable energy system aesthetics. Lack of stakeholder/community participation and co-operation in energy choices and renewable energy projects. Setting national renewable energy targets can be an important part of a renewable energy policy and these targets are usually defined as a percentage of the primary energy and/or electricity generation mix. National targets are also an important component of renewable energy strategies in some developing countries. The United Nations Environment Program has suggested that making renewable energy targets legally binding could be an important policy tool to achieve higher renewable energy market penetration.
Energy regulators often have authority to carry out a number of functions that have implications for the financial feasibility of renewable energy projects. Since policies are not self-implementing, energy sector regulators become a key facilitator (or blocker) of renewable energy investments.
The new system will rely heavily on renewable energy (particularly wind, photovoltaics, and biomass) energy efficiency, and energy demand management. The large energy companies have a disproportionately small share of the renewables market. As of 2012, renewable energy plays a major role in the energy mix of many countries globally. Prices for renewable energy technologies, primarily wind power and solar power, continued to drop, making renewables competitive with conventional energy sources. In October 2011, he "announced the creation of a high-level group to drum up support for energy access, energy efficiency and greater use of renewable energy. Worldwide use of solar power and wind power continued to grow significantly in 2012. Global solar and wind energy installed capacities continued to expand even though new investments in these technologies declined during 2012. Renewable energy use has grown much faster than even advocates anticipated. Jacobson says that energy costs with a wind, solar, water system should be similar to today's energy costs. The most significant barriers to the widespread implementation of large-scale renewable energy and low carbon energy strategies are primarily political and not technological. A sustainable energy economy requires commitments to both renewables and efficiency. Renewable energy and energy efficiency are said to be the "twin pillars" of sustainable energy policy. If energy use grows too fast, renewable energy development will chase a receding target. The IEA has stated that renewable energy and energy efficiency policies are complementary tools for the development of a sustainable energy future, and should be developed together instead of being developed in isolation.
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