Genesis Morocco: Earths energy budget

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Genesis Morocco

Project Genesis is a strategic sustainable development framework for Morocco to translate from being a net importer of energy and a country facing water shortage issues, into the number one producer both of clean renewable energy and water in the region.

Monday, July 21, 2008    <<Home

Earths energy budget

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Renewable energy

Main article: Renewable energy

In 2004, renewable energy supplied around 7% of the world's energy consumption.[25] The renewables sector has been growing significantly since the last years of the 20th century, and in 2005 the total new investment was estimated to have been 38 billion US dollars. Germany and China lead with investments of about 7 billion US dollars each, followed by the United States, Spain, Japan, and India. This resulted in an additional 35 GW of capacity during the year.[3]

Solar power

Main article: Solar energy

The available solar energy resources are 3.8 YJ/yr (120,000 TW). Less than 0.02% of available resources are sufficient to entirely replace fossil fuels and nuclear power as an energy source. Assuming that our current rate of usage remains constant, we will run out of conventional oil in 35 years, coal in 200 yrs. In practice neither will actually run out, as natural constraints will force production to decline as the remaining reserves dwindle.[29][30]

In 2007 grid-connected photovoltaic electricity was the fastest growing energy source, with installations of all photovoltaics increasing by 83% in 2007 to bring the total installed capacity to 8.7 GW. Nearly half of the increase was in Germany, now the world's largest consumer of photovoltaic electricity (followed by Japan). Solar cell production increased by 50% in 2007, to 3,800 megawatts, and has been doubling every two years.[31]

The world's most powerful photovoltaic solar power plant is the 20 megawatt Beneixama photovoltaic power plant in Spain, although a 116 megawatt plant is under construction in southern Portugal, one of the sunniest places in Europe.[32] The largest photovoltaic installation in North America is the 18 megawatt Nellis Solar Power Plant.

Since 1991 the largest solar power plant has been the 354 megawatt Solar Energy Generating Systems, in California, using parabolic trough collectors.

Renewable energy sources are even larger than the traditional fossil fuels and in theory can easily supply the world's energy needs. 89 PW[58] of solar power fall on the planet's surface. While it is not possible to capture all, or even most, of this energy, capturing less than 0.02% would be enough to meet the current energy needs. Globally, solar generation is the fastest growing source of energy, seeing an annual average growth of 35% over the past few years. Japan, Europe, China, U.S. and India are the major growing investors in solar energy. Advances in technology and economies of scale, along with demand for solutions to global warming, have led photovoltaics to become the most likely candidate to replace nuclear and fossil fuels.[59]