Just talking renewable energy will not do

Huge difference between potential and utilisation of renewable energy

Published: Friday 15 December 2006

The global potential for renewable energy is 20,000 times than that of the daily consumption of atomic and fossil energy. In 2005, non-hydro renewables generated only 2 per cent of world's net generation of 4.06 trillion kilowatt-hour (kwh)

At present, there are two principle methods employed by governments worldwide to support installation systems:

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renewable energy feed in tariff system: It guarantees that all electricity generated from renewable sources will be purchased, besides fixing a long-term price for such purchase. More than 80 per cent of the 1.4 mw of renewables installed around the world in the first half of 2002 were installed in three countries with guaranteed minimum prices: Germany, Denmark and Spain.

germany: Renewable Energy Sources Act (2000) replaced the Electricity Feed Act (1990). euro 0.5/kwh for solar-based electricity; euro 0.084/kwh for wind-generated electricity

denmark: Mandated electricity purchases (1993), according to which utility companies are required to pay 85 per cent of the retail price of electricity for wind/turbine-generated electricity

spain: Introduced in 1994. euro 0.4/kwh for solar-based electricity; euro 0.09/kwh for wind-generated electricity

green credit system: It requires utility companies to purchase a proportion of their generation from renewable sources. They do so by purchasing green credits. Credits are traded and the market sets the price. The countries that follow this system are the uk, us and China

united kingdom: Renewable obligation certificates

united states of america: Renewable portfolio standard

china: Renewable energy law

Additionally, tax incentives and funding are often available. In Japan between 1992 and 2000, euro 150 million was invested per year in solar energy, achieving 41 per cent growth and in the uk , 40 per cent of capital costs are covered by the government

High on renewable energy:

The us has risen from 370 mw installed wind capacity to 2,400 mw due to the Production Tax Credit being extended through to 2007

China has set a target of 12 per cent of power generation from renewables by 2020, up from 3 per cent in 2003. 70 per cent of components for new wind installations come from Chinese manufacturers in an effort to drive costs down

Europe leads the world with total installed capacity of 40,500 mw supplying 3 per cent of Europe's electricity demand.

Down to Earth The uk has the best wind regime in Europe but public opposition and unclear government policy has hampered the development process in the country

India has a target of achieving 150 mw installed capacity by 2007

Japan intends to quadruple generation from solar energy by 2010 to reach 4,820 mw

Capitalising on wind power

Wind power has expanded from 4,800 mw in 1995 to 59,000 mw in 2005

In Denmark, 19 per cent of electricity comes from wind energy

In Spain, 8 per cent of electricity comes from wind energy

The international wind energy market is expected to have an annual turnover of more than euro 13 billion

Sourc: Compiled from various sources

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