Renewable energy

They are considered as renewable energy, resources generated from its constitution that is self-regenerating or not "exhausted" over time and, by extension, do not affect natural resources for future generations.

These resources include solar, wind, currents and water masses, the organic waste material, the heat from the interior of the earth, etcetera. All these sources of energy can be used to generate electricity and for other applications, for example biomass if incinerated produces heat, solar energy can be used to heating water or heating environments (PV), landfill methane is used as fuel for heating or cooking.

Compared with conventional energy sources, renewable energy sources greatly reduce the excessive use of environmental resources and not produces wastes or residues harmful to humans.

According to data published in late 2009, in the period 2004-2008 the use of renewable energy in the world grew by an unprecedented manner, significant advances occurred in the construction of small hydro, geothermal plants and biomass utilization.

The production of electricity through photovoltaic cells increased from 6 to 13 Giga Watts, the use of wind power increased by 250% to 121 GW, and total production capacity of renewable energy increased by 75%. In the same period, excluding large hydroelectric dams, the largest producers of energy through renewable pathways were: China (76 GW), USA (40 GW), Germany (34 GW), Spain (22 GW) , India (13 GW) and Japan (8 GW). An important milestone in the conversion to renewable energy was obtained in 2008, when the power generating capacity of U.S. and the European Union was enlarged at the cost of conventional energy sources (gas, coal, oil and nuclear), combined with the existing energy from renewable sources reached 50% of the established capacity. Including large hydro-power, global energy production in low-pollution alternative sources comes to 1140 GW.

Classifications

Each renewable energy source has different characteristics that influence the way they are converted, channeled and distributed. Each region or geographic area of the world develops according to their own availability.

Photovoltaic

A photovoltaic plant is a plant which operates to produce solar energy through the photovoltaic effect, the physical process by which a solar cell converts the energy of a photon into electrical energy.

Photovoltaic power plants are generally divided into two groups: isolated plants, which are not connected to the mains electricity and are used mostly in isolated places, and stations connected to an existing distribution network operated by third parties in this case speaking of power grid-connect .

According to data published in late 2009, this was the fastest growing technology between the years 2004 to 2008, even there was an increase of 70% only in 2008 and global capacity increased by 6 times since 2004. With new and modern facility opened in recent years, Spain is the undisputed market leader, reaching a capacity of 2.6 GW which constitute half of global capacity. Chile is one of the privileged countries worldwide in terms of solar potential, in the Atacama desert the year average radiation is 6.5 kWh, and every square meter of desert in a year receives the equivalent of 2 MW. The high initial costs of PV panels and the high taxes levied on imports, including those low-cost panels produced in the Far-East, have prevented the country to develop production definitively power through this system.

Wind Power

Wind Power is the product of the conversion of kinetic energy produced by wind energy in other forms, such as mechanical or electrical energy. Currently in most cases, it is converted into electrical energy through an electrical generator connected to a turbine (wind turbine), however, in the past wind power was used immediately, and in situ, as motive power for pre-industrial or industrial applications (for example windmills, water pumps).

In late 2008 the worldwide capacity of wind turbines was 121.2 GW, representing approximately 1.5% of global energy needs. In some countries, due to government incentives, the use of wind power reaches a significant market share, 19% of electricity in Denmark is produced through wind, 13% in Spain and Portugal, 7% in Germany and Ireland, and so on. For the first time in developing countries like Egypt and Turkey, factories specialized in the construction of wind turbines were opened; even some of the top 10 global producers of turbines are located in these type of countries Goldwin and Sinovel are Chinese brands, and Suzlon from India.

In the case of Chile, new wind farms that went into operation in late 2009 will expand energy production to 180 MW, but with the planned construction of 4 new complexes farms in the Bio-Bio and Coquimbo regions, expected to be exceeded 200 MW of power. Other wind farms in the study may come to provide, within the next few years, more than 1500 MW, which would help achieve the production target of 15% of the electricity produced through wind power.

Biomass

Biomass is defined as all those materials of organic origin, animal or plant that have not had a process of fossilization, so the oil, coal and other fossil fuels, but are organic in origin do not fit within the definition. The energy content of these materials can be used for electricity production through direct incineration or channeling fermentation gases, which is an alternative to fossil fuels. Some materials can be used directly without prior treatment, while others may have to pass through complex procedures. During 2008 the energy obtained from biomass continued to grow in large scale, estimates that global growth reached 2 GW of power, with a total production of more than 52 GW. The use of biomass had a tremendous growth in the European Union, countries like Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Poland, Sweden and England were the most advanced. In the East, China continued to increase power generation through biomass trough large complex of industrial-scale biogas using waste from agriculture production. In Chile, in 2006, energy production through biomass was 532 MW, using waste from forestry industry.