Growth of Renewables
From the end of 2004, worldwide renewable energy capacity grew at rates of 10–60% annually for many technologies. For wind power and many other renewable technologies, growth accelerated in 2009 relative to the previous four years. More wind power capacity was added during 2009 than any other renewable technology. However, grid-connected PV increased the fastest of all renewables technologies, with a 60% annual average growth rate. In 2010, renewable power constituted about a third of the newly built power generation capacities. Projections vary, but scientists have advanced a plan to power 100% of the world's energy with wind, hydroelectric, and solar power by the year 2030. According to a 2011 projection by the International Energy Agency, solar power generators may produce most of the world's electricity within 50 years, reducing the emissions of greenhouse gases that harm the environment.
Cedric Philibert, senior analyst in the renewable energy division at the IEA said: "Photovoltaic and solar-thermal plants may meet most of the world's demand for electricity by 2060 – and half of all energy needs – with wind, hydropower and biomass plants supplying much of the remaining generation". "Photovoltaic and concentrated solar power together can become the major source of electricity", Philibert said.
Climate change and global warming concerns, coupled with high oil prices, peak oil, and increasing government support, are driving increasing renewable energy legislation, incentives and commercialization. New government spending, regulation and policies helped the industry weather the global financial crisis better than many other sectors. According to a 2011 projection by the International Energy Agency, solar power generators may produce most of the world's electricity within 50 years, reducing the emissions of greenhouse gases that harm the environment
The IEA 2014 World Energy Outlook projects a growth of renewable energy supply from 1700 gigawatts in 2014 to 4550 gigawatts in 2040. Fossil fuels received about $550 billion in subsidies in 2013, compared to $120 billion for all renewable energies
Hydrocarbons for energy storage. Technologies that do CO2 capture, hydrogen storage and energy conversion have been improving by leaps and bounds the last years. In 2013 hydropower generated almost 16% of the worlds total electricity
Small-scale wind power is the name given to wind generation systems with the capacity to produce up to 50 kW of electrical power. Isolated communities, that may otherwise rely on diesel generators, may use wind turbines as an alternative. Individuals may purchase these systems to reduce or eliminate their dependence on grid electricity for economic reasons, or to reduce their carbon footprint. Wind turbines have been used for household electricity generation in conjunction with battery storage over many decades in remote areas. Recent examples of small-scale wind power projects in an urban setting can be found in New York City, where, since 2009, a number of building projects have capped their roofs with Gorlov-type helical wind turbines.
Grid-connected domestic wind turbines may use grid energy storage, thus replacing purchased electricity with locally produced power when available. The surplus power produced by domestic microgenerators can, in some jurisdictions, be fed into the network and sold to the utility company, producing a retail credit for the microgenerators' owners to offset their energy costs.