Drinking rainwater from banana leaf, Nigeria. (c) I. Uwanaka/UNEP peopleandplanet.net
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Drinking rainwater from banana leaf, Nigeria. (c) I. Uwanaka/UNEP
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renewable energy > features

Solar energy takes off in Tamil Nadu
by Lalitha Sridhar

Tamil Nadu is setting the pace in solar energy use in India. Indeed, this south Indian state accounts for two thirds of the total non-conventional energy used in the country, thanks in part to strong state support. Lalitha Sridhar reports. ... more

Renewable options 1: Wind Power
by Leon Freris

The serious development of wind power in modern times began in 1973 after the oil crisis shook the confidence of the developed world that oil was there for the asking. Now, 18 years later, wind power is the fastest growing energy source in several regions of Europe, with the United States and India following behind in total installed capacity. And the potential is enormous. ... more

Renewable options 2: Fuel Cells
by Peter Hoffmann

"No car company will be able to thrive in the future with 100 per cent dependency on internal combustion engines." The speaker was the chairman of the world's largest car maker, General Motors, a company generally regarded as fairly conservative and not given to rash assertions. Thus, the comments by GM CEO John F. Smith a few years ago at the Detroit Auto Show, predicting that environmental pressures will force a fundamental shift in the automotive industry by moving away from gasoline-fuelled cars to fuel cells, were seen as a sort of official seal of approval. ... more

Renewable options 3: Biomass
by David Hall

There is now nearly-universal recognition that wood and other vegetation is an important source of energy. Altogether biomass supplies 14 per cent of all the energy used in the world. In developing countries it is the single most important source providing more than a third of all the energy used. ... more

Renewable options 4: solar power
by Molly O\'Meara

George Porter, the British Nobel laureate in chemistry, once said, "If sunbeams were weapons of war, we would have had solar energy long ago." Indeed it was the Cold War space race of the 1960s that spurred the development of photovoltaic (PV) cells, the thin silicon wafers that turn sunlight directly into electricity. Today the same characteristics that make PVs ideal to power space craft - light weight, modular, and no moving parts - are helping solar cells to compete on land. ... more

Renewable options 5: Marine Power
by Peter Fraenkel

... more

Power for the people: Overview
Some 3,000 million people, many of them in the rural areas of the developing world, can see little prospect of being connected to a mains energy supply. But, as Peter Fraenkel explains, modern technology can help to fill the gap. ... more

Power for the people 1: Bangladesh
by Lou Werner

A new micro-credit scheme in Bangladesh is bring solar-powered energy and fresh hope to the four out of five villages which remain beyond the national grid. Lou Werner reports. ... more

Power for the people 2: Ethiopia
by Mike Bess

Cooking injera Ethiopia's staple flat bread is one of the most inefficient forms of energy use in the world. Now, after numerous attempts, a new improved stove, that could cut firewood use in half, is a big commercial success. Mike Bess reports. ... more

Power to the people 3: Malaysia
by Maya Pastakia

One of the urgent challenges facing many Asian cities is that of pollution fuelled by ever-growing traffic. Now, a British high-tech company has designed a clean, electric, solar-powered people carrier that could help solve the problem. Maya Pastakia reports. ... more

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