Renewable Energy Resources in NORTH AMERICA
Renewable energy can contribute substantially
to the entire North American electricity supply, to
biomass based transport fuels and for space
and hot water heating in buildings and industry.
Both distributed forms of renewable energy and central
large-scale technology options are possible.
Worldwide, the rates of growth of wind and solar energy are the most rapid of any technology. Wind power installations have been doubling every three years between 1994 and 2001, and now total over 23,000 MW. (Brown, 2002, Sawin, 2001). Likewise photovoltaic shipments have been doubling at a comparable rate between 1996 and 2001, and now approach 400 MWp. These growth rates are from a small base, but vastly exceed any other form of energy technology. Unfortunately, North America has a declining share of this accelerating market in renewable technology.
A number of policy barriers within each of the three North American nations need to be addressed, and national and NAFTA trading rules need to be reconciled in order for renewable energy to achieve its full potential. It is also essential to adopt a long-term perspective for expanding the role of renewable energy in North America over the next several decades. (1)
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