The oil price shocks of the mid 70s caused the developed economies to investigate renewable energy based alternatives to fossil fuels. The UK focussed on wave energy, the USA, Denmark and Germany on wind energy. By the end of that 80s, wind energy was the internationally favoured technology. Driven by subsidy support, wind energy capacity grew rapidly. Solar energy was initially much more expensive than wind, but by 2010 the costs were becoming closer. By 2020, both technologies had similar costs of energy and were capable of competing, subsidy free, in the open market. Today, the great majority of all new power generation is from renewable sources.
Key learning objectives:
Explain what triggered the rise of renewable energy.
Explain the factors that enabled its growth.
Describe how the costs of renewable power have changed over time.
Describe the technologies required to enable the widespread adoption of renewable energy generation.