Wind power is an ecologically friendly and relatively economical source of renewable energy that is growing around the world. Today, the industry is worth over €13 billion and employs nearly 150,000 people. In 2005, the total worldwide wind capacity was at 59,084 megawatts. The clean, domestic energy source is rapidly expanding because it has the potential to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and water use while creating jobs that spark economic activity.
Solar power harnesses the energy of the sun to produce electricity for businesses, homes and regional power systems. The energy provided by the sun can fill all human energy needs as well as powering all life on Earth. The solar power industry is growing at around 35 percent per year, and technology advancements have made this zero-emission source of energy more cost-effective than it once was. Homeowners generally earn back between 75 percent and 110 percent of a solar system’s cost within 20 years due to reduced electricity bills.
Biomass is one of the most cost-effective sources of renewable energy. Made from organic plant material and waste, biomass reduces landfills while producing energy for use in homes, businesses, communities and industries. This form of energy reduces the amount of greenhouse gases emitted into the atmosphere, creates green jobs and comes from common waste materials such as wood chips and even sewage.
Hydropower is the most widely used renewable energy source, representing 19 percent of the world’s energy production. Relatively low maintenance and operation costs make hydropower cost-effective; the lack of greenhouse gas emissions makes it an environmentally sound choice.
Clean energy investments are not only good for the environment, but beneficial to economies. In the United States, the estimated $150 billion that is invested in renewable energy each year can create enough jobs to reduce the unemployment rate by 1 percent. Renewable sources of energy also rely primarily on indigenous resources, so the majority of money spent on energy remains at home.