For obvious reasons, electrical power has become an essential part of the human civilization, from boosting economic activities to enhancing man’s overall quality of life. However, electricity is traditionally generated using fossil fuels such as coal, oil, and natural gas—the very reason why such commodities are among the most traded in the world. They have, however, often been associated with severe air pollution and global warming. The growing demand for energy and the ballooning concern over the planet’s deteriorating health have led to major developments in green tech, particularly in the field of renewable power. Such alternative power sources have existed for decades, but only in recent years have they been gaining significant attention and higher investment.
Geothermal power production requires high upfront investment costs. However, in most countries, it is one of the main sources of energy. It is tapped by over 20 countries around the world, such as the United States, China, and the Philippines. In Iceland, more than a quarter of the country’s energy needs are met by its five major geothermal power plants.
The United States has significant geothermal resources with a great growth potential, particularly in western states like California and Nevada. The United States ranks high among countries with most geothermal heat pump installations. According to the GEA (Geothermal Energy Association) annual production report for 2016, the U.S. geothermal market had about 3.7 GW of installed nameplate capacity and 2.723 GW of net capacity with two additional plant expansions in Nevada.
Solar power is one of the most widely used renewable sources of energy. Its extremely low carbon footprint, zero emissions, and longevity make for a healthier environment. Large-scale solar farms are currently being constructed in countries like India and China.
In India, the Kamuthi Solar Power Project has a capacity of 648 MWs covering an area of 10 square kilometers and their Kurnool Mega Solar Park with an estimated 1,000 MW once finished. China, meanwhile, is being recognized as one of the leading producers and developers of large-scale solar projects. In contrast to the usual landscape or portrait orientation of solar panels, the country is building a 250-acre solar power plant shaped like a giant Panda that will be stretched up to 1,500 acres when completed. The plant is set to produce 3.2 billion kilowatt-hours of solar energy in the next 25 years according to China Merchants New Energy Group.
Energy derived from moving water has been harnessed by humans for centuries. When turbines came to existence, hydropower has become one of the most popular sources of clean energy, and is particularly beneficial in many nations that are well-endowed with water resources. The hydropower industry constantly improves on its ecological profile by using modified and enhanced technologies.
Nowadays, several companies are investing billions of dollars on hydropower projects due to the growing population as well as the increasing electricity demands globally. Earlier this year, some of the successful hydropower projects have begun supplying electricity to the public such as:
The 2,070-MW Lauca hydropower project constructed in Angola, the first of six generator turbines with a cost estimate of US$4.5 billion. The Tata Power Company located in Georgia has finally completed its 187-MW Shuakhevi hydropower project with a price tag of more than US$420 million.
Given the fact that there are still millions of people living without electricity, many countries could potentially take advantage of their natural resources to produce a renewable and sustainable energy that are both economically viable and environmentally beneficial.