Overview of renewable energy

Renewable energy is the source of energy that can be used consistently (solar-, wind-, geothermal-, wave energy) or that recovers in ecosystem processes (biomass energy) without being depleted in the way that could be harmful for local ecosystems.

The resources need to be used in a sustainable way such that the growth will not exceed consumption.

Renewable energy can be used for electricity or heat production, as engine fuel and in off-grid locations as energy service.

In 2014 the share of renewables in the World was 19% of energy consumption. Nearly 78% of energy consumption is formed by fossil fuels and only 2% accounts for nuclear energy.

The International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) claimed in 2011 that renewable energy could be able to cover up to 80% of energy demand worldwide, although the achievement of this is in the hands of nations’ ambitions.

According to a report by International Energy Agency (IEA) renewable sector is the fastest growing sector in energy. It is forecasted that by 2016 more electricity will be produced from renewable sources than from natural gas and two times more than in nuclear power stations.

Renewable energy in electricity, heating and transport.

Renewable energy can be effectively used in electricity production, heat energy production as well as in transportation.

Renewable sources/methods used for electricity production:

  • Wind energy – onshore or offshore wind parks
  • Hydroenergy – hydropower stations
  • Solar energy – Photovoltaic (PV) panels and concentrated solar power (CSP)
  • Geothermal energy – geothermal and hydrothermal systems
  • Biomass – wood chips, pellets, biogas
  • Sea energy

Renewable sources/methods used for heat energy production:

  • Solar energy
  • Geothermal energy
  • Biomass energy – biomass and biogas

Bioethanol, biodiesel as well as biogas can be efficiently used in transportation.