The term renewable energy describes sources of energy that exist within the natural environment including the sun, wind, water, plant material, and geothermal heat. These sources are either continuously available, like heat from the sun, or are rapidly replaced after their depletion, like wood. Renewable energy is also considered clean energy. It generally does not produce carbon dioxide or other harmful pollutants or wastes. Renewables such as hydropower and wood already contribute 15 percent of total world energy production. The so-called “new renewables,” including solar and wind, while accounting for only 2 percent of energy production, are the fastest-growing sources of energy. Since the early 1990s installed capacity of both solar power and wind energy has increased by more than 20 percent annually. With concerted ...

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