Renewable energy refers to energy sources that are replenished naturally on a human timescale, such as solar, wind, hydroelectric, and geothermal power. These energy sources are considered renewable because they are not depleted when used, unlike nonrenewable sources such as fossil fuels (e.g. coal, oil, and natural gas), which are finite and will eventually be exhausted.
There are many different statistics that can be used to measure the use and effectiveness of renewable energy. Some common statistics include:
- Renewable energy capacity: This measures the total amount of renewable energy that is available to generate electricity. It is typically measured in megawatts (MW) or gigawatts (GW).
- Renewable energy generation: This measures the amount of electricity that is actually generated from renewable energy sources. It is typically measured in kilowatt-hours (kWh) or terawatt-hours (TWh).
- Renewable energy share: This measures the percentage of total energy consumption that is supplied by renewable energy sources. It is typically expressed as a percentage.
- Renewable energy cost: This measures the cost of generating electricity from renewable energy sources, compared to nonrenewable sources. It is typically measured in dollars per kilowatt-hour (kWh).
- Renewable energy jobs: This measures the number of jobs that are related to the renewable energy industry, including manufacturing, installation, maintenance, and research and development.
There are many different organizations that track and publish renewable energy statistics, including the International Energy Agency, the Renewable Energy Policy Network for the 21st Century, and the U.S. Energy Information Administration.