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There is hope in renewable energy

According to reports, with fossil fuels fast depleting and affecting the earth’s ecology, renewable energy is the answer to future power worries.

Renewable energy is energy which comes from natural resources such as sunlight, wind, rain, tides and geothermal heat, which are renewable (naturally replenished). Renewable energy is an alternative to fossil fuels. The fact that it is replenishable is what keeps the buzz about. Scientists have advanced plans to power 100% of the world’s energy with wind, hydroelectric, and solar power by the year 2030.

As of 2011, wind power was growing at the rate of 21% annually, with a worldwide installed capacity of 238 gigawatts (GW), and was widely used in Europe, Asia, and the United States. A 2010 study estimated that Australia could transition to 100% renewables for a cost of $370 billion over a ten-year period – about $8/household each week.

What probably suits India most is the fact that though many renewable energy projects are large-scale, renewable technologies are also suited to rural and remote areas. Globally an estimated 3 million households get power from small solar photovoltaic systems. More than 30 million rural households get lighting and cooking from biogas made in household-scale digesters. Biomass cook-stoves are used by 160 million households.

India might not have a big carbon footprint but what is important is to keep a constant check on our performance. The going for India has already been good. In the year 2011, for example, it had investments of $10.3 bn in the sector, a growth rate of 52 per cent year on year, much bigger than those of other bigger countries.

What has also been shining bright is solar power. Solar investments led the growth with a seven-fold increase in funding, from $0.6bn in 2010 to $4.2bn in 2011, just below the $4.6bn invested in wind during the year, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF).

2011 saw a record 2,827MW of wind energy capacity being added putting India at number three in terms on installations, just behind China and the US. BNEF said a further 2,500MW to 3,200MW could be added in 2012.

Grid-connected solar also saw a substantial increase, up from 18MW in 2010 to an estimated 277MW by the end of 2011.

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