Academic journal article International Forum of Teaching and Studies

Development of Renewable Energy for Rural Economy Households with the Blended and Participatory Learning Processes in Kalasin Province in Thailand

Academic journal article International Forum of Teaching and Studies

Development of Renewable Energy for Rural Economy Households with the Blended and Participatory Learning Processes in Kalasin Province in Thailand

Article excerpt

Introduction

Renewable energy is generally defined as energy that comes from resources which are naturally replenished, such as sunlight, wind, rain, tides, waves and geothermal heat (Thebulletin.org, 2011). Renewable energy replaces conventional fuels in four distinct areas: electric generation, hot water/space heating, motor fuels, and rural energy services (Thebulletin.org, 2011). Renewable energy resources exist over wide geographical areas, in contrast to other energy sources that are concentrated in a limited number of countries. Rapid deployment of renewable energy and energy efficiency is resulting in significant energy security, climate change mitigation, and economic benefits. In international public opinion surveys, there is strong support for promoting renewable sources, such as solar power and wind power (United Nations Environment Program, 2007, p. 3).

While many renewable energy projects are large-scale, renewable technologies are also suited to rural and remote areas and developing countries where energy is often crucial. The United Nations' Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon, has said that renewable energy has the ability to lift the poorest nations to new levels of prosperity (World Energy Assessment, 2001, p. 21).

Based on the Renewable Energy Policy Network for the 21st Century (REN21's 2014) report, renewable energy contributed 19 percent to our energy consumption and 22 percent to our electricity generation in 2012 and 2013. Modern renewable forms, such as hydro, wind, solar and biofuels, as well as traditional biomass, contributed in about equal parts to the global energy supply. Electricity generation from fossil fuels and nuclear accounted for about 78 percent, and worldwide investments in renewable technologies amounted to more than US$ 214 billion in 2013, with countries like China and the United States heavily investing in wind, hydro, solar and biofuels. At the national level, at least 30 nations around the world already have renewable energy that contributes more than 20 percent of the energy supply. National renewable energy markets are projected to continue to grow strongly in the coming decade and beyond (The Renewable Energy Policy Network for the 21st Century, 2014, pp. 13-17).

Overview

Renewable energy involves natural phenomena. Wind power is growing at the rate of 30% annually, with a worldwide installed capacity of 282,482 MW at the end of 2012, and is widely used in Europe, Asia, and the United States. At the end of 2012, the photovoltaic (PV) capacity worldwide was 100,000 MW, and PV power stations are popular in Germany and Italy. Solar thermal power stations operate in the USA and Spain, and the largest of these is the 354 MW SEGE power plant in the Mojave Desert. The world's largest geothermal power installation is the Geysers in California, with a rated capacity of 750 MW. Brazil has one of the largest renewable energy programs in the world, involving production of eternal fuel from sugar cane, and ethanol now provides 18% of the country's automotive fuel. Ethanol is also widely available in the USA (Leone, 2011).

As of 2011, small solar PV systems provide electricity to a few million households, and micro-hydro electricity has been configured into mini-grids that serve many more. Over 44 million households use biogas made in household-scale digesters for lighting and/or cooking and more than 166 million households rely on a new generation of more-efficient biomass cookstoves. The United Nations' Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has said that renewable energy has the ability to lift the poorest nations to new levels of prosperity. Renewable energy resources and significant opportunities for energy efficiency exist over wide geographical areas in contrast to other energy sources that are concentrated in a limited number of countries. Rapid deployment of renewable energy, energy efficiency and technological diversification of energy sources would result in significant energy security and economic benefits. …

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