5 Next-Gen Renewable Energy Sources
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5 Next-Gen Renewable Energy Sources

By Energy CIO Insights | Tuesday, January 28, 2020

Renewable energy sources are one of the best alternatives to save the planet from pollution and there are several types of renewable energy sources.

Fremont, CA: Renewable energy sources are clean, inexhaustible, and are very competitive. They are different from fossil fuels in every way, and they do not emit greenhouse gases which causes climate change. Also, the cost of renewables is falling at an exponential rate, whereas the value of fossil fuels is increasing in spite of their present volatility. It is impossible to stop the growth of clean energy, as the statistics by the International Energy Agency (IEA) indicates. So, here are a few renewable energy sources that are used the most.   

Hydropower

With the global hydroelectric installed capacity exceeding 1,295GW, hydropower is the most widely-used renewable power source. Hydroelectricity generates 18 percent of the world’s total capacity and 54 percent of the global renewable power generation capacity. One of the most ordinary ways to generate hydroelectricity is through dams in rivers and then releasing water from the reservoir to move the turbine. Another method of hydropower is pumped-storage type plants. However, hydro plants have become controversial as they impact the bio-diversity and human resettlement.

Wind energy

The second most used renewable energy source is wind energy. The globally installed wind power capacity exceeded 563GW in 2018, which is 24 percent of the world’s total renewable energy generation capacity. The biggest wind energy generator in the world is China, with the ability to generate more than 184GW, followed by the USA who produced 94GW by the end of the year 2018. Countries such as Spain, Germany, India, Italy, the UK, Brazil, France, Portugal, and Canada produce more than 85 percent of wind power, along with China and the USA.  

Solar power

The third biggest renewable energy source is solar power with photovoltaic (PV) technology being dominant and generating more than 486GW a year. The use of concentrating solar power (CSP) technology is witnessing positive growth with power generating capacity reaching 5.5GW by the end of 2018. Asia is the biggest contributor to solar power expansion in 2018 with 94GW. USA, Australia, and Germany produce 8.4GW, 3.8GW, and 3.6GW, respectively, in new solar power projects. The biggest single-site power plant in the world is Noor Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) with 1.17GW installed capacity.  

Bio-power

The fourth-biggest renewable power source is bio-power with the world’s net electricity production capacity exceeding 117GW while the generation capacity of bio-power generation increased from 317TWh in 2010 to more than 495TWh in 2018. Biofuels and wood pellets are used to generate heat and power along with traditional biomass sources such as agricultural by-products. The US, China, India, Brazil, Germany, and Sweden are the leading bio-power generators in the world. The biggest biomass-fuelled power plant is the Ironbridge power plant in Severn Gorge, UK.

Geothermal power

With 13.2GW power generation capacity in 2018, geothermal power generation is the fifth-biggest renewable source of electricity. In 2018, geothermal electricity generation exceeded 85TWh. About 66 percent of the energy generated from geothermal sources is used for direct heat, while the remaining is used for generating electricity. The US, Indonesia, Philippines, Italy, and Mexico are the five biggest geothermal power generators in the world.

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