Alternative (renewable) energy guides

Alternative energy guides
Alternative energy guides

Renewable energy sources

Renewable energy is energy which comes from natural resources such as sunlight, wind, rain, tides, and geothermal heat, which are renewable  (naturally replenished). In 2008, about 19% of global final energy consumption came from renewables, with 13% coming from traditional biomass, which is mainly used for heating, and 3.2% from hydroelectricity.

New renewables (small hydro, modern biomass, wind, solar, geothermal, and biofuels) accounted for another 2.7% and are growing very rapidly.

The share of renewables in electricity generation is around 18%, with 15% of global electricity coming from hydroelectricity and 3% from new renewables.

During the five-years from the end of 2004 through 2009, worldwide renewable energy capacity grew at rates of 10-60 percent 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-percent annual average growth rate for the five-year period.

Wind power

Airflows can be used to run wind turbines. Modern wind turbines range from around 600 kW to 5 MW of rated power, although turbines with rated output of 1.5–3 MW have become the most common for commercial use; the power output of a turbine is a function of the cube of the wind speed, so as wind speed increases, power output increases dramatically.

Areas where winds are stronger and more constant, such as offshore and high altitude sites, are preferred locations for wind farms. Typical capacity factors are 20-40%, with values at the upper end of the range in particularly favourable sites.

Globally, the long-term technical potential of wind energy is believed to be five times total current global energy production, or 40 times current electricity demand.

This could require large amounts of land to be used for wind turbines, particularly in areas of higher wind resources. Offshore resources experience mean wind speeds of ~90% greater than that of land, so offshore resources could contribute substantially more energy.

Wind power is renewable and produces no greenhouse gases during operation, such as carbon dioxide and methane.


The Hoover Dam when completed in 1936 was both the world’s largest electric-power generating station and the world’s largest concrete structure.

Energy in water can be harnessed and used. Since water is about 800 times denser than air, even a slow flowing stream of water, or moderate sea swell, can yield considerable amounts of energy.

There are many forms of water energy:

  • Hydroelectric energy is a term usually reserved for large-scale hydroelectric dams. Examples are the Grand Coulee Dam in Washington State and the Akosombo Dam in Ghana.
  • Micro hydro systems are hydroelectric power installations that typically produce up to 100 kW of power. They are often used in water rich areas as a remote-area power supply (RAPS). There are many of these installations around the world, including several delivering around 50 kW in the Solomon Islands.
  • Damless hydro systems derive kinetic energy from rivers and oceans without using a dam.
  • Ocean energy describes all the technologies to harness energy from the ocean and the sea. This includes marine current power, ocean thermal energy conversion, and tidal power.

All documents, software and books are free to download.

No.Alternative energy guidesDownload
1A Guide To UK Mini-Hydro Developments
2Small Hydroelectric Plants
3Guide on How to Develop a Small Hydropower Plant
4Solar Heating of Buildings and Domestic Hot Water star
5Passive Solar Buildings
6Renewable Energy
7Geothermal Electricity
8The History of Wind Energy, Electricity Generation from the Wind star New
9Wind Booklet – A Practical Guide for Farmers and Ranchers star New
10Photovoltaic Power Systems
11Protection requirements for a large scale wind park
12Overhead Highway Signs powered by Solar lighting
13Build Your Own Vertical Axis Wind Turbine
14Guide for Generator Condition Assessment In Hydropower Plant
15Guidelines For Erection, Testing and Commisioning of Small Hydro Power Plants
16Complete Guide To Photovoltaic Plants New star
17Energy Saver Guide – The Real Tips on Saving Money and Energy at Home New star
18Technical description of wind power plant (experiences and lessons learned)

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Page edited by E.C. (Google).