Studies show that fossil fuels such as coal, oil and natural gas are used to generate over 60% of the world’s electricity (over 84% in the U.S.). However, a variety of factors are contributing to the increasing development of renewable energy systems that capture energy from replenishable natural resources such as wind, sunlight, water, and especially biomass.
Factors contributing to a global shift towards renewable energy sources include:
- The cost of fossil fuel has been generally rising and is likely to continue to rise in the future.
- Many countries, including the U.S., depend on foreign resources for a majority of their domestic energy needs. Concerns over political and economic instability in some of the leading energy producing regions of the world are encouraging consuming countries to diversify their sources of energy.
- Environmental concerns regarding the by-products of fossil fuels have led many countries and several US states to agree to reduce emissions of carbon dioxide and other gases associated with the use of fossil fuels and to adopt policies promoting the development of cleaner technologies.
- Many countries have adopted policies to provide government incentives for the development and use of renewable energy sources, such as subsidies to encourage the commercialization of renewable energy power generation.
- In many parts of the world, the existing electricity infrastructure is insufficient to meet projected, and in some places, existing demand.
As a result of these and other factors, The U.S. Energy Information Administration (“EIA”) projects that Grid-connected renewable generating capacity will continue to grow over the next 25 years. The EIA further projects that over the next 25 years (by 2035), the role of fossil fuel in providing energy will fall from 84% to 78%, and renewable energy sources will supply in excess of 14% of the nation’s total consumption.