The Business Case For Renewable Energy

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The Business Case for Renewable Energy

The Business Case for Renewable Energy

The Business Case for Renewable Energy

Renewable energy, however, is becoming increasingly important, faster than many people realize. In Denmark, for example, over 20% of power usage today comes from wind power alone. In Germany, over 6% of total usage comes from wind. Currently US wind energy capacity, at about 6,500 megawatts (an amount equivalent to the usage of about 1.5 million average American households) lags Germany's 15,000 MW of wind power. In comparison to the US the EU as a whole has over five times the US capacity, about 30,000 MW. But the US Department of Energy has recently announced a plan that will require 5% of US energy consumption to come from wind by 2020. While government initiatives, especially in the energy sector, have a reputation for derailing, renewable domestic power production is conservatively expected to grow at least 1.5% per year, a higher growth rate than any other domestic energy source. Political will or technological innovation may triple this rate.

Some interesting facts and figures from an article on the global energy situation:

World commercial energy demand, overall, is well over 90% based on non-renewable and environmentally damaging fossil fuels (only 8% is hydropower based, while capital intensive nuclear power depends entirely on non-renewable uranium, thorium and other minerals).

The current 'oil price crisis' in reality reflects an emerging and permanent supply crisis for oil and gas (which currently provide about 65% of world commercial energy. Soon after the present and short-term 'price crisis' ... which can only intensify in the 2005-2008 period ... and within at most 10 years, both oil supply and natural gas supply will enter into constant and terminal decline, due to physical depletion.

Worldwide oil depletion is now running at about 1.25-1.5 million barrels/day (Mbd) of capacity lost each year, and net additions to world oil production capacity are small, slow, high cost, and irregular. In many non-OECD countries experiencing fast industrial and economic growth, typical annual growth rates of demand are 5%-9% for oil, and 8%-12% for gas.

World demand growth is admitted by the IEA to be running at 3%/year or more...

Overall and in fact, Kyoto Treaty implementation starting in about 2008 will result in only marginal, or no total and overall reduction of world fossil energy consumption by 2020-2030.

In the near-term, certainly to 2010-2015, world total fossil energy demand will likely increase even faster than today, because of accelerated 'conventional' economic development by the newly emerging industrial superpowers, China and India, and several other large population, fast growing economies such as Brazil, Pakistan and Turkey.

Current and conventional urban-industrial economic infrastructures are close to 100% dependent on oil and gas energy, thermal electricity, and hydrocarbon based raw materials, as well as derived products (for example gas and oil-based fertilizers and insecticides for food production, materials utilized for building, and energy needs of operating 'conventional' habitat and transport systems). In times of normally functioning capital markets, all public and independent institutions have access to ...
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