Renewable energy: What role will it play in the world’s future energy needs?
Countries around the globe are beginning to harness the power of a range of renewable energy technologies, from solar to wind and hydro power.
These limitless sources of energy are being hailed as the answer to the world’s future energy needs.
In fact, the potential of renewable energy is so great that The International Energy Agency's latest annual Medium-Term Renewable Energy Market Report has argued that a quarter of the world’s energy needs will be served through renewables by 2018.
The amount of energy generated by hydro, solar, geothermal, biofuel and wind is set to leap by 40% over the coming years, according to the IEA. This increase in output is expected to come about because of a range of factors, including the idea that it is cheaper to generate power with renewables.
Demand for renewables is also continuing to increase, climbing by 8% in 2012 alone.
Commenting on the figures, IEA executive director Maria van der Hoeven said: "Many renewables no longer require high economic incentives. But they do still need long-term policies that provide a predictable and reliable market and regulatory framework compatible with societal goals. And worldwide subsidies for fossil fuels remain six times higher than economic incentives for renewables.”
Recent figures have also revealed that renewable energy projects developed by communities, farmers and the public sector are generating a staggering £768m worth of electricity on an annual basis. This is enough electricity to power 3.9 million households.
Commenting on the figures, Iain Robertson, SmartestEnergy’s Head of Generation, which conducted the report, said:
“Rising energy prices and the introduction of financial subsidy schemes such as the Feed-in Tariff have sparked huge interest in the development of independent renewable generation projects in recent years.
“For businesses and organisations faced with steep rises in energy costs, investing in their own renewable energy projects can generate significant savings and help them remain competitive.”
Despite the increasing focus on renewable energy, it seems that non-renewable energy sources, such as those that go into creating heating oil, will also be at the forefront of many UK homes for some time.