Humankind’s Detour towards Sustainability

Renewable energies have been the primary energy source in the history of the human race. During the last 200 years, industrialised countries have shifted their energy consumption toward fossil fuels.

Contemporary electric power generation is based on non-renewable resources such as oil, coal, and nuclear power. New efficient and cost-effective small-scale renewable energy generation options are commercially available today. Market distortions are to be overcome in order to make renewable energies cost-competitive in today’s economic environment. Social, environmental and also economic reasons will reverse the worldwide primary energy use back to renewables and thus reapproach a sustainable economic system based on traditional and new high-tech technologies.

In their paper Humankind’s Detour Toward Sustainability: Past, Present, and Future of Renewable Energies and Electric Power Generation, the authors describe the decline of scale in electricity generation and the concept of distributed electric power generation. Market introduction programs are discussed from the micro- and macro economic perspective, preparing renewable energies for the liberalised electricity market.

Raphael Edinger and Sanjay Kaul; Humankind’s Detour Toward Sustainability: Past, Present, and Future of Renewable Energies and Electric Power Generation. In: Renewable & Sustainable Energy Reviews 2 (2000), pp. 295-313. Pergamon Press, Elsevier Science, New York, USA.