Contributed by: green-la.com
Renewable energy effectively utilizes natural resources such as sunlight, wind, tides and geothermal heat, which are naturally replenished. Renewable energy technologies range from solar power, wind power, and hydroelectricity to biomass and biofuels for transportation. About 13 percent of primary energy comes from renewables, with most of this coming from traditional biomass like wood-burning. Hydropower is the next largest source, providing 2-3%, and modern technologies like geothermal, wind, solar, and marine energy together produce less than 1% of total world energy demand. The technical potential for their use is very large, exceeding all other readily available sources.
Renewable energy technologies are sometimes criticised for being unreliable or unsightly, yet the market is growing for many forms of renewable energy. Wind power has a worldwide installed capacity of 74,223 MW and is widely used in several European countries and the USA. The manufacturing output of the photovoltaics industry reached more than 2,000 MW per year in 2006, and PV power plants are particularly popular in Germany. Solar thermal power stations operate in the USA and Spain, and the largest of these is the 354 MW SEGS power plant in the Mojave Desert. The world's largest geothermal power installation is The