Renewable energies: from the gas stove to the hydropower plant

Solar power plant in Namibia

The potential of renewable energies is huge. In purely mathematical terms the sun, wind, water, earth and bio­mass provide thousands of times more energy that the world's population requires. So far, however, humankind has developed only a fraction of this potential. This is partly due to the fact that the funds for the investment needed have not been available, and the fact that in many countries fossil fuels are subsidised.

Nevertheless, renewable energies are continuing to gain ground. Since 2004 the installed capacity of plants gene­ra­ting power from renewable energy sources has risen by 75 per cent, reaching 280 gigawatts. Of the USD 250 billion invested in 2008 in new power generation capacities worldwide, more than half was accounted for by renewable energies.

An adequate energy supply is prerequisite to economic development. Renewable energy use can make a decisive contribution toward creating these preconditions – especially in developing countries. The Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) is currently supporting projects in 42 partner countries that are designed to disseminate renewable energies.

These projects

  • help reduce poverty;

  • help protect the climate;

  • reduce fossil fuel dependency;

  • promote sustainable economic growth;

  • protect the health of people and natural resources,

  • and help build peace.


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