The History of Renewable Energy: The Big Picture

The History of Renewable Energy: The Big Picture

By
Grace Smoot

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Renewable energy uses natural resources that are flow-limited but naturally replenish themselves over time. We have been using renewable energy for centuries, but the 21st century has seen a massive increase in the research and development of renewable energy technologies as the climate crisis continues to worsen. So, we had to ask: What is the history of renewable energy?

Renewable energy began thousands of years ago via harnessing energy from the sun, wind, water, earth’s heat, tides, waves, and biomass. Theoretical and experimental validation of renewable energy mechanisms, followed by the invention of renewable energy technologies, have shaped the modern market.

Keep reading to learn how renewable energy came to be, who and what pioneered its development, how effective it has been thus far, and what the future of renewable energy could entail. 

Here’s the History of Renewable Energy in a Nutshell

Renewable energy is an energy substitute for fossil fuels (e.g., coal, oil, natural gas) that comes from sources that are flow-limited, naturally replenishing, virtually inexhaustible, and limited in the amount of energy available in a set amount of time. 

Renewable Energy: energy that is produced using the sun, wind, etc., or from crops, rather than using fuels such as oil or coal | types of energy that can be replaced naturally such as energy produced from wind or water”

Cambridge Dictionary

The 7 most common types of renewable energy are solar, wind, hydropower, geothermal, tidal, wave, and biomass energy.

Renewable energy has gone through three distinct development phases in its development:

  • Early market formation and innovation: The early history of renewable energy dates back thousands of years with primitive methods of harnessing the sun, wind, water, heat from the earth’s core, tides, waves, and biomass. Scientific advances in the 1800-1900s paved the way for the development of modern renewable energy technologies.
  • Consolidation and strengthening: Theoretical and experimental validation of renewable energy mechanisms, followed by the invention of solar panels, wind turbines, hydroelectric facilities, geothermal plants, tidal facilities, wave converters, and biomass power plants, helped to shape the renewable energy market.
Renewable Energy MilestonesHistorical Event
Initial startThe early history of renewable energy dates back thousands of years with primitive methods of harnessing the sun, wind, water, heat from the earth’s core, tides, waves, and biomass. Scientific advances in the 1800-1900s paved the way for the development of modern renewable energy technologies.
Milestones in renewable energy development1771: Richard Arkwright invented the water frame, a water-powered machine to spur the Industrial Revolution.
1826: Samuel Morey invented the internal combustion engine
1827: Benoit Fourneyron invented the first water turbine. 
1849: James Francis invented the Francis turbine, which is still the most commonly used one today.
1860: German inventor Nicolaus Otto developed a more efficient internal combustion engine, the Otto Cycle Engine, which used ethyl alcohol as a fuel.
1878: The world’s first hydroelectric project was established.
1882: The world’s first hydroelectric power plant was constructed.
1883: The first photoelectric (solar) cell was invented. 
1887: The first wind turbine for electricity generation was developed.
1890s: German engineer Rudolph Diesel invented the world’s first diesel engine.
1895: The largest and first alternating current electricity-generating hydropower plant was constructed.
1904: Piero Ginori Conti became the first to use geothermal energy to power a small generator.
1908: Henry Ford invented the Model-T car, the world’s first car that could run on ethanol as fuel.
1910: Busso Belasek developed the first artificial wave machine.
1910: Bochaux Praceique developed the first oscillating water column for wave energy, which is a design still used today. 
1913: The world’s first commercial, dry steam geothermal power plant was constructed in Italy. 
1920s: The first vertical axis wind turbine was developed.
1920: Dexter Cooper came up with the idea of harnessing power from tides.
1938: Biodiesel was tested for the first time in vehicles. 
1941: The first megawatt (MW) wind turbine was constructed and connected to the US power grid. 
1948: The world’s first commercial geothermal heat pump became operational. This pioneered the large-scale commercial application of heat pumps. 
1954: The first silicon solar cell was invented.
1966: The La Rance Tidal Power Station was opened in France, the first tidal power plant in the world. 
1967: The world’s first geothermal, binary cycle power plant became operational in Russia.
1980: The world’s first onshore wind farm was constructed in New Hampshire (US).
1985: The world’s first biodiesel manufacturing plant was established at an agricultural college in Austria.
1991: The world’s first offshore wind farm, the Vindeby Wind Farm, was constructed in Denmark. 
2003: The European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC) was established as the world’s first commercial, open-sea testing facility for wave and tidal energy technologies.
2007: The world’s first tidal turbine system was constructed at Strangford Lough in Northern Ireland.
2008: The world’s first operational wave power system, the Aguçadora wave farm, was opened in Portugal.
2011: The Sihwa Lake Tidal Power Station, the largest operational tidal power plant in the world, was opened in South Korea. 
2023: CorPower Ocean installed CorPower C4, the first commercial-scale wave energy converter.
Current statusCurrently, 14% of our primary energy consumption (heating, transportation, and electricity) currently comes from renewable energy technologies. Hydropower accounts for the majority of renewable electricity generation at roughly 51%, followed by wind at 25% and solar at 15%.
Future outlookThe future of renewable energy will be heavily influenced by ambitious government targets, policy support, increasing competitiveness of renewable energy technologies, and incentives to use less fossil fuels.
Key policy developments1974 The International Energy Agency (IEA)
1995 The International Hydropower Association (IHA)
2001 World Nuclear Association (WNA)
2005 Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC)
2008 – World Bioenergy Association (WBA)
2009 – The International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA)
2013 Ocean Energy Europe (OEE)
2015 International Solar Alliance (ISA)
2015 – The Paris Agreement
2023 – Global Biofuel Alliance (GBA)

Understanding renewable energy’s history can provide insight into how they have evolved into the energy source they are today.

When and How Did Renewable Energy Get Started

In general, we have been using renewable energy for centuries. But each type of renewable energy got its start in a different manner.

  • Solar: Humans have been using the sun as energy since the 7th century BC. Common ancient uses of the sun included actively reflecting the sun’s rays and passively allowing the sun to act as a source of heat. In 1839, French physicist Alexandre Edmond Becquerel discovered the photovoltaic effect, which would lead to the development of the photoelectric (PV solar) cell, the basis of modern solar energy. 
  • Hydropower: Humans have been using water as energy since 300 BC, when the ancient Roman Empire and the eastern Mediterranean region used water wheels to grind grain into flour. Between 500 and 1,500 AD, hydropower migrated to Europe and Asia, where the ancient water wheel designs were refined and improved. Tide mills, water mills driven by the rising and falling of tides, began popping up along coastlines shortly after that.
  • Geothermal: Humans have been using geothermal energy, in the form of natural pools and hot springs, for centuries. The Greeks and the Romans used baths heated by hot springs, and instances of geothermal space heating in the city of Pompeii have been documented as far back as the first century AD. Evidence was also discovered that Native Americans used geothermal energy in cooking applications as early as 10,000 years ago
  • Tidal: The early history of tidal energy dates back to the 600s with the use of tide mills, which are water mills driven by the rise and fall of tides. Tide mills grew in popularity throughout the Middle Ages, and hundreds were in operation around the shores of the Atlantic Ocean by the 1800s. 

How Has Renewable Energy Developed Over Time

Over the years, renewable energies have grown to make up an ever-growing amount of total energy consumption and play a vital role in combating climate change. As concern increases over the worsening climate crisis, attention shifts towards developing renewables.

What Are Milestones in Renewable Energy Development 

The 1800s and 1900s saw rapid refinement and development of renewable energy technologies.

1771: English textile manufacturer Richard Arkwright invented the first water frame, a water-powered machine that spun cotton into yarn.

1808: Sir Humphrey Davy established that cow manure produced methane. Manure would become a prominent feedstock for biogas today.

1818: François Jacques de Larderel became the first to harness energy for industrial use by extracting boric acid from hot springs.

1826: Samuel Morey invented the internal combustion engine, which could run on ethanol and turpentine.

1827: Benoit Fourneyron invented the first water turbine. 

1849: James Francis invented the Francis turbine, which is still the most commonly used one today.

1857: French Chemist Louis Pasteur discovered the fermentation process, the main pathway to produce ethanol. 

1859: The first anaerobic digestion plant—essential to convert organic waste into biogas—was constructed in a leper colony in Bombay (presently Mumbai), India. Little is known about the plant except it was built to manage sewage in the colony.

1860: German inventor Nicolaus Otto developed a more efficient internal combustion engine, the Otto Cycle Engine, which used ethyl alcohol as a fuel.

1878: The world’s first hydroelectric project was established in England.

1882: The world’s first hydroelectric power plant was constructed.

1883: The first photoelectric (solar) cell was invented. 

1887: The first wind turbine for electricity generation was developed.

1890s: German engineer Rudolph Diesel invented the world’s first diesel engine, which could run on a variety of fuels, including vegetable oil. 

1895: Biogas was recovered from the sewage system in Exeter (United Kingdom) and used to light street lamps. 

1895: The largest and first alternating current electricity-generating hydropower plant was constructed.

1904: Piero Ginori Conti became the first to use geothermal energy to power a small generator to illuminate several light bulbs. 

1906: German engineer Karl Imhoff invented the Imhoff Tank, a two-chambered tank to receive and process sewage. His design would become an early form of biogas plants in operation today. It also signaled a switch from anaerobic lagoons to anaerobic tank systems.

1907: The Hot Lake Hotel became one of the first buildings in the world to use geothermal energy as its primary heat source.

1908: Henry Ford invented the Model-T car, the world’s first car that could run on ethanol as fuel. 

1910: Busso Belasek developed the first artificial wave machine.

1910: Bochaux Praceique developed the first oscillating water column for wave energy, which is a design still used today. 

1913: The world’s first commercial, dry steam power plant was constructed in Italy. 

1920s: The first vertical axis wind turbine was developed.

1920: Dexter Cooper came up with the idea of harnessing power from tides.

1937: A patent was granted to Chavanne G. for an ethyl ester of palm oil, a substance which today we call biodiesel. This constituted the first report on biodiesel.

1938: Biodiesel was tested for the first time in vehicles. A bus running on palm oil ethyl ester made the trip between Brussels and Louvain (Belgium).

1940: Yoshio Masuda developed a navigation buoy powered by wave energy. He is often regarded as the father of modern wave energy technology.

1941: The first megawatt (MW) turbine was constructed and connected to the US power grid. 

1948: The world’s first commercial geothermal heat pump became operational. This pioneered the large-scale commercial application of heat pumps. 

1950s: Activated sludge systems became established as a way to apply anaerobic digestion to solid waste to create biogas.

1954: The first silicon solar cell was invented.

1960: The Geysers Geothermal Complex, the world’s largest geothermal power plant, was constructed North of San Francisco, California (US).

1963: The Wairākei Power Station was opened in New Zealand. It was the first flash steam-powered plant and the second overall geothermal power plant in the world.

1963: Sharp Corporation became the first mass-producer of silicon solar panels.

1966: The La Rance Tidal Power Station was opened in France, the first tidal power plant in the world. 

1967: The world’s first geothermal, binary cycle power plant became operational in Russia. This binary cycle design uses lower-temperature geothermal resources, meaning it is more efficient and can be deployed at more locations worldwide.

1980: The world’s first onshore wind farm was constructed in New Hampshire (US).

1985: The world’s first biodiesel manufacturing plant was established at an agricultural college in Austria. It was specifically designed to produce fuel.

1991: Germany became the first country in the world to implement feed-in tariffs (FIT) to support the expansion of biomass technology. 

1991: The world’s first offshore wind farm, the Vindeby Wind Farm, was constructed in Denmark. 

2003: The European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC) was established as the world’s first commercial, open-sea testing facility for wave and tidal energy technologies.

2006: The Chena Hot Springs Resort installed the world’s first plant to produce geothermal energy at temperatures below the boiling point of water. This expanded the geographic area where geothermal energy can be extracted.

2007: The world’s first tidal turbine system was constructed at Strangford Lough in Northern Ireland.

2007: Solar energy became the leading renewable energy technology. 

2008: The world’s first operational wave power system, the Aguçadora wave farm, was opened in Portugal.

2011: The Sihwa Lake Tidal Power Station, the largest operational tidal power plant in the world, was opened in South Korea. 

2018: Construction began on The MeyGen Tidal Energy Project, which will be the largest tidal power facility in the world.

2018: France opened Europe’s first solar panel recycling plant.

2023: CorPower Ocean installed CorPower C4, the first commercial-scale wave energy converter.

How Has the Renewable Energy Market Developed Recently

Driven by decreasing costs and improved technology, renewable energy capacity grew over 4 fold from 2000-2022, increasing from 754 gigawatts (GW) to 3,372 GW. This is as more and more effort is put into reducing global CO2 emissions to mitigate climate change.

Most recently, global renewable energy capacity increased by 9.6% (295 GW) in 2022 to reach 3,372 GW globally.

Solar energy saw the highest increase at 22% (192 GW), followed by wind at 9% (75 GW), hydropower at 2% (21 GW), bioenergy at 5% (8 GW), and geothermal at 181 megawatts (MW).

Renewable energy capacity additions in 2022 also varied by region:

  • Asia: Installed capacity increased by 60% (175 GW) to reach 1.63 terawatts (TW), or 48% of the global total. China alone added 141 GW of capacity.
  • Europe: Installed capacity increased by 8.8% (57.3 GW).
  • Oceania: Installed capacity increased by 10.6% (5.2 GW), largely due to increases in Australia.
  • Africa: Installed capacity increased by 4.8% (2.7 GW).

What Is the Present Status of Renewable Energy

Globally, approximately 14% of our primary energy consumption (heating, transportation, and electricity) currently comes from renewable energy technologies. This is up from 11% in 2019.

Illustration of the Share of primary energy from renewable sources from Our World in Data
Our World in Data: Share of primary energy from renewable sources

We generated roughly 8,500 TWh of energy from renewables in 2022, over half of which came from hydropower.

Illustration of Modern renewable energy generation by source, World from Our World in Data
Our World in Data: Modern renewable energy generation by source, World

In terms of electricity generation, hydropower accounts for the majority at roughly 51%, followed by wind at 25%, solar at 15%, and other renewables (e.g. geothermal, biomass, waste, wave, and tidal energy) at 9%.

Illustration of Renewable electricity generation from Our World in Data
Our World in Data: Renewable electricity generation, World

Although renewable energy usage has increased in the 21st century, only a few countries currently have renewables as their primary energy source. The vast majority of countries still have a long way to go. 

Iceland is the world leader in renewable energy, sourcing over 85% of its primary energy supply from domestically produced renewable energy sources in 2022. Following Iceland’s lead are Norway, Sweden, Brazil, New Zealand, and Denmark. 

Illustration of Share of primary energy from renewable sources from Our World in Data
Our World in Data: Share of primary energy from renewable sources, 2022

How Will the Future of Renewable Energy Look Like

In general, the future of renewable energy will be heavily influenced by ambitious government targets, policy support, increasing competitiveness of renewable energy technologies, and incentives to use less fossil fuels.

How Renewable Energy Will Likely Develop in the Future

More specifically, each type of renewable energy has a different future outlook:

  • Geothermal: One of the most prominent, emerging geothermal technologies is enhanced geothermal systems (EGS), also known as human-made geothermal energy. The future of geothermal energy also involves a switch from dry steam to binary cycle geothermal plants, which are more efficient.
  • Tidal: The global marine energy market is predicted to increase by over 20% to be worth $1.54 billion by 2030. But this will heavily depend on whether we can overcome marine energy’s main obstacles: cost, geography, and sea level rise, which is exacerbated by climate change.

What Policies Are Put in Place to Support Renewable Energy Usage

The most well-known piece of legally binding, international climate mitigation legislation is The Paris Agreement, the goal of which is to limit global warming to below 2 degrees Celsius (C), preferably to 1.5°C, compared to pre-industrial levels. 

The Paris Agreement specifically notes a transition away from fossil fuels and towards renewable energies as being a critical part of meeting these goals.

Check out the highlights of the 2015 COP21 directly from the UN Climate Change channel:

Two Weeks of COP 21 in 10 Minutes

In addition, The International Energy Agency’s (IEA) Net Zero Emissions by 2050 Scenario is one framework for the global energy sector to achieve net zero CO2 emissions by 2050 and universal energy access by 2030.

There are many global and country-specific policies and organizations aimed at increasing renewable energy usage and meeting the 2050 net zero scenario, including: 

  • 1974 – The International Energy Agency (IEA): The IEA was founded in response to the major oil disruptions in 1974. It promotes international energy cooperation and is made up of 31 member countries. 
  • 1988 – The International Geothermal Association (IGA): The IGA is a leading, global organization that promotes geothermal energy as a vital part of the transition away from fossil fuels. Today, the IGA has over 5,000 members and 30 affiliate organizations.
  • 2005 – Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC): The GWEC was founded as an international trade association for the wind energy industry. Their members represent 99% of the global installed wind power capacity.
  • 2008 – World Bioenergy Association (WBA): The World Bioenergy Association was founded to sustainably develop bioenergy globally and promote the business environment of bioenergy. 
  • 2009 – The International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA): IRENA was founded as a global intergovernmental agency focused on scaling renewable energy. It is comprised of 167 member countries as well as the European Union.
  • 2013 – Ocean Energy Europe (OEE): They are the largest global network of marine energy professionals, with over 120 member organizations. They aim to advance tidal and wave energy technologies. 
  • 2015 – International Solar Alliance (ISA): The ISA is a treaty-based organization established to create cooperation among solar energy-resource-rich countries and the rest of the world. There are currently 94 member countries.
  • 2023 – Global Biofuel Alliance (GBA): The GBA was launched at the G20 summit as an alliance between 19 countries and 12 international organizations to advance the development of sustainable biofuels. 

If you are interested in learning more about country-specific energy policies, you can visit the IEA’s policies database and filter by specific energy type.

What Are Currently the Different Types of Renewable Energy

The 7 most common types of renewable energy are solar, wind, hydropower, geothermal, tidal, wave, and biomass energy.

Related: Are you interested in learning more about renewable energy? Check it out in this article here: Renewable Energy Explained: All You Need to Know

What Are Currently the Different Types of Solar Energy

Solar energy is the conversion of sunlight into electrical energy.

Solar Energy: energy that uses the power of the sun to produce electricity”

Cambridge Dictionary

Harnessing the power of the sun falls into two main categories:

  1. Photovoltaic (PV) solar cells: photovoltaic cells in solar panels absorb energy from sunlight, creating an electrical charge. This charge moves in response to an internal electric field in the cell, causing electricity to flow. 
  1. Concentrating solar thermal plants (CSP): mirrors reflect and concentrate sunlight onto receivers that collect and convert solar energy into heat. This is utilized in very large power plants.

Both systems take the energy from the sun and convert it to electricity, just by slightly different mechanisms.

Related: Are you interested in learning more about solar energy? Check it out in this article here: “Solar Energy Explained: All You Need to Know

What Are Currently the Different Types of Wind Energy

Wind energy is the conversion of moving air into electrical energy. It is a form of solar energy that is caused by the uneven heating of the earth’s surface, irregularities of the earth’s surface, and the earth’s rotation. 

Wind: a current of air moving approximately horizontally, especially one strong enough to be felt”

Cambridge Dictionary

There are two main types of wind energy:

  1. Onshore wind energy: Wind turbines are located on land. Construction, transportation, maintenance costs, and infrastructure needed to transmit electricity from onshore turbines to consumers are low. 
  1. Offshore wind energy: Wind turbines are located in the ocean or freshwater. Construction, transportation, maintenance costs, and infrastructure needed to transmit electricity from offshore turbines to consumers are high. Offshore turbines are considerably larger than onshore turbines and can cost up to 20% more, and noise pollution, land use, and wildlife impact concerns are minimal compared to onshore turbines. 

To harness wind energy, the wind turns wind turbine blades around a rotor, which spins a generator to create electricity. 

Related: Are you interested in learning more about wind energy? Check it out in this article here: Wind Energy Explained: All You Need to Know

What Are Currently the Different Types of Hydropower Energy

Hydropower energy is the conversion of moving water into electrical energy through the use of various types of hydroelectric facilities.

Hydropower: hydroelectric power (= the production of electricity by the force of fast-moving water)”

Cambridge Dictionary

Hydropower can be divided into three main categories depending on how many megawatts (MW) of power are generated.

Category of HydropowerGenerating Capacity
Micro hydropower100 kilowatts (kW) or less
Low-impact hydropower (low hydro)Between 100 kW and 10 MW
Large hydropower (large hydro)30 MW or more
Related: Are you interested in learning more about wind energy? Check it out in this article here: Hydropower Energy Explained: All You Need to Know

What Are Currently the Different Types of Geothermal Energy

Geothermal energy is the conversion of heat inside of the earth into electric energy. It is created by the decay of radioactive materials in the rock and fluid of the earth’s core. 

Geothermal: involving or produced by the heat that is inside the earth”

Cambridge Dictionary

The three main types of geothermal power plants are: 

  1. Dry Steam: Wells are drilled into underground reservoirs of steam. The steam is piped directly from the well to the power plant where it powers turbines and generators.
  1. Flash Steam: The most common type of geothermal power plant. Very hot (360 degrees Fahrenheit, 182 degrees Celsius) water flows up through wells towards the surface under its own pressure. As it reaches the surface, some of the water boils into steam. The steam is then separated from the water and is then used to power turbines and generators at the power plant.
  1. Binary Steam: Wells are drilled into underground reservoirs of hot water (225-360 degrees Fahrenheit, 107-182 degrees Celsius). The heat from the water is used to boil a working fluid, an organic compound with a low boiling point. This working fluid is vaporized into steam which is then used to power turbines and generators at the power plant. The water is then injected back into the ground where it is reheated and can be used again.
Related: Are you interested in learning more about geothermal energy? Check it out in this article here: Geothermal Energy Explained: All You Need to Know

What Are Currently the Different Types of Tidal Energy

Tidal energy is the conversion of the earth’s tides into electrical energy. It is created by the gravitational pull of the sun and moon coupled with the rotation of the earth.

Tidal Power: power that comes from the movement of the tide (= the rise and fall of the ocean that happens twice every day) and that can be used especially for producing electricity”

Cambridge Dictionary

There are three types of tidal energy technology:

  • Stream: turbines are placed in tidal streams. The machines are large and can disrupt the tides. The size of the turbine and the location of the tidal stream will dictate the level of environmental impact.
  • Barrage: a barrage (dam) is placed across a river, bay, or estuary. The barrage gates open as the tide rises and close at high tide, creating a lagoon. The water is then released through the turbines which spin a generator to create electricity. Barrages cause significant land disruption within the tidal range, and the change in water and salinity levels within the lagoon can harm plant and animal life. Also, turbines in barrages move fast and can kill marine life in their blades. 
  • Lagoon: a body of ocean water that is partially enclosed by a man-made barrier. Lagoons function in the same manner as a barrage, but they generate continuous power and can also be constructed along a coastline. Lagoons provide a minimal level of environmental impact but also generate the least amount of energy. They can be constructed with natural materials like rock and would easily allow marine life to pass through. 
Related: Are you interested in learning more about tidal energy? Check it out in this article here: Tidal Energy Explained: All You Need to Know

What Are Currently the Different Types of Wave Energy

Wave energy is the conversion of the up and down motion of waves into electrical energy. It is created when the wind blows over the surface of the water in oceans or lakes. 

Wave Power: electrical energy generated by harnessing the up-and-down motion of ocean waves”

Britannica

There are three types of wave energy technology:

  • Float or buoy: Anchored buoys use the rise and fall of waves to power hydraulic pumps. The “up” and “down” movement powers a generator to produce electricity, which is transported onshore via underwater power cables. 
  • Oscillating water column: The “in” and “out” motion of waves at the shore enter columns, forcing air to turn turbines. As the waves enter the column, the air is compressed and heated, creating energy. The energy is then transported onshore via underwater power cables. 
  • Tapered channel (tapchan): Shore-mounted structures channel and concentrate waves, pushing them into an elevated reservoir. The water is then released from the reservoir, flowing through penstocks and to turbines which power a generator to produce electricity. 
Related: Are you interested in learning more about wave energy? Check it out in this article here: Wave Energy Explained: All You Need to Know

What Are Currently the Different Types of Biomass

The two different types of biomass are traditional biomass and modern biomass. Sources of biomass can include wood, wood processing wastes, agricultural crops, agricultural waste materials, municipal solid waste, animal manure, and human sewage, depending on the type.

Traditional biomass involves the combustion of biomass sources directly to produce energy and heat. This typically involves burning wood or wastes as sources of heat or for cooking purposes.

Modern biomass involves chemically or biologically converting biomass sources into different products including:

  • Biogas: Biogas is a gaseous mixture of 45% to 75% methane (CH4), carbon dioxide (CO2), and small quantities of other gasses created through anaerobic digestion or thermochemical conversion of biomass in an oxygen-free environment. Biogas is either burned to create electricity or can be further purified down into renewable natural gas (i.e., biomethane) which can be used in place of conventional natural gas (NG). 
Related: Are you interested in learning more about biomass energy? Check it out in this article here: Biomass Energy Explained: All You Need to Know

Final Thoughts

The early history of renewable energy dates back thousands of years with primitive methods of harnessing the sun, wind, water, heat from the earth’s core, tides, waves, and biomass. Scientific advances in the 1800-1900s paved the way for the development of modern renewable energy technologies.

Theoretical and experimental validation of renewable energy mechanisms, followed by the invention of solar panels, wind turbines, hydroelectric facilities, geothermal plants, tidal facilities, wave converters, and biomass power plants, helped to shape the renewable energy market.

Renewable energy began to establish itself as a part of the mainstream electricity industry in the 1900s with the opening of the first commercial power plants and rapid scaling of the technology. 

The establishment of the International Energy Agency, the International Renewable Energy Agency, and the Paris Climate Agreement helped to regulate the renewable energy market.

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