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Renewables 2011 Global Status Report | REN21

Renewables 2011 Global Status Report | REN21

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Published by Uğur Özkan
Published by REN21.
Published by REN21.

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Published by: Uğur Özkan on Jul 15, 2011
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Biodiesel

A fuel used in diesel engines installed in cars, trucks,
buses, and other vehicles; and also used in stationary
heat and power applications. Biodiesel is produced from
oilseed crops such as soy, rapeseed (canola), and palm
oil, and from other vegetable oil sources such as waste
cooking oil and animal fats.

Biofuel

A wide range of liquid and gaseous fuels derived from
biomass. Biofuels – including ethanol, biodiesel, and
biogas – can be combusted in vehicle engines as trans-
port fuels, in stationary engines for heat and electricity
generation, and used for domestic heating and cooking
(for example, as ethanol gels or di-methyl ether).

Biogas digester

A unit that converts animal and plant organic material
into biogas, which is made up predominantly of methane.
Biogas can be used as fuel for lighting, cooking, heating,
electricity generation, and transport. It can also be
upgraded to biomethane.

Biomass energy/bioenergy

Biomass is any material of biological origin, excluding
material that is embedded in geological formations.
Biomass energy (or bioenergy) can take many forms,
including biofuels, biogas, biomethane (similar to natural
gas and derived by removing impurities – including
carbon dioxide, siloxanes, and hydrogen sulfides – from
biogas), solid biomass from dedicated plantations, and
biomass waste and residues from forestry, agriculture,
industrial processes, and wet and solid municipal waste.

Capital subsidy, consumer grant, rebate

One-time payments by a government or utility to cover a
percentage of the capital cost of an investment, such as a
solar water heater or a solar PV system.

Combined heat and power (CHP)/Cogeneration Plants

Facilities that recover “waste heat” that is otherwise
discarded from power generation processes that produce
thermal energy. Biomass, geothermal, and solar thermal
resources can be used in such plants.

Ethanol

A liquid fuel made from biomass (typically corn, sugar
cane, or grains) that can replace ordinary gasoline in
modest percentages for use in ordinary spark ignition
engines (stationary or in vehicles), or that can be used at
higher blend levels (usually up to 85% ethanol, or 100%
in Brazil) in slightly modified engines such as those
provided in “flex-fuel vehicles” that can run on various
fuel blends or on 100% gasoline.

Feed-in tariff

A policy that: (a) sets a fixed, guaranteed price over a
stated fixed-term period at which small or large generators
can sell renewable power into the electricity network,
and (b) usually guarantees grid access to renewable

electricity generators. Some policies provide a fixed tariff
whereas others provide fixed premium payments that
are added to wholesale market- or cost-related tariffs.
Other variations exist, and feed-in tariffs for heat are
evolving.

Fiscal Incentive

An economic incentive that provides actors (individu-
als, households, companies) with a reduction in their
contribution to the public treasury via income or other
taxes, or with direct payments from the public treasury
in the form of rebates or grants.

Geothermal

Heat energy emitted from within Earth’s crust, usually
in the form of hot water or steam, which can be used
to produce electricity or as direct heat for buildings,
industry, and agriculture. In addition, ground-source heat
pumps use shallow geothermal heat (up to around 20
meters depth but that can also be deemed to be stored
solar heat) to heat and cool water and space.

Gigajoule/Petajoule

A unit of energy that is equal to 1 billion (109

) joules.

Approximately six gigajoules represent the amount
of potential chemical energy in a barrel of oil, when
combusted. A petajoule is 1015

joules.

Green energy purchase

Voluntary purchase of renewable energy, usually electric-
ity, by residential, commercial, government, or industrial
consumers, either directly from a utility company, from a
third-party renewable energy generator, or through the
trading of renewable energy certificates (RECs).

Hydropower

Electricity that is derived from the energy of water
moving from higher to lower elevations. Categories
of hydropower projects include run-of-river, storage
(reservoir)-based capacity, and low-head in-stream
technology (the least developed). Pumped storage plants
pump water from a lower reservoir to a higher storage
basin using surplus electricity, and reverse the flow to
generate electricity when needed; they are not energy
sources but means of energy storage. Hydropower covers
a continuum in project scale from large (usually defined
as more than 10 MW installed capacity, but the definition
varies by country) to small-, mini-, micro-, and pico.

Investment

In this report, total investment includes venture capital,
corporate and government research and development,
private equity, public markets new equity, re-invested
investment, asset finance, and small-scale distributed
capacity. It excludes mergers and acquisitions, which are
based on previously invested money changing hands.
Financial new investment includes venture capital and
private equity investment (VC/PE), public markets
investment, and asset finance of utility-scale projects;

GLOSSary

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93

these categories are highlighted because data are
available in greater detail in the BNEF database, quarter-
by-quarter.

Investment tax credit

A taxation measure that allows investments in renewable
energy to be fully or partially deducted from the tax
obligations or income of a project developer, industry,
building owner, etc.

Mandate/obligation

A measure that requires designated parties (consumers,
suppliers, generators) to meet a minimum, and often
gradually increasing, target for renewable energy such as
a percentage of total supply or a stated amount of capac-
ity. Costs are generally borne by consumers. In addition
to electricity mandates through renewable portfolio
standards/quotas, mandates can include building codes
or obligations that require the installation of renewable
heat or power technologies (often in combination with
energy efficiency investments); renewable heat purchase
mandates; and requirements for blending biofuels into
transportation fuel.

Modern biomass energy

Heat, electricity, and/or transport fuels that are produced
from biomass-fueled technologies other than those using
“traditional biomass.” Technologies include combustion,
gasification, pyrolysis, cogeneration of power and heat,
and anaerobic digestion to produce biogas and landfill
gas. Liquid biofuel also is a form of modern biomass.

Net metering

A power supply arrangement that allows a two-way flow
of electricity between the electricity distribution grid and
customers that have their own generation system. The
customer pays only for the net electricity delivered from
the utility (total consumption minus self-production). A
variation that employs two meters with differing tariffs
for purchasing electricity or exporting excess electricity
off-site is called “net billing.”

Production tax credit

A taxation measure that provides the investor or owner
of a qualifying property or facility with an annual
tax credit based on the amount of renewable energy
(electricity, heat, or biofuel) generated by that facility.

Public Competitive Bidding

An approach under which public authorities organize
tenders for a given quota of renewable supplies or
capacity, and remunerate winning bids at prices that are
typically above standard market levels.
Regulatory policy
A rule to guide or control the conduct of those to whom
it applies. In the renewable energy context, examples
include mandates or quotas such as renewable portfolio
standards, feed-in tariffs, biofuel blending mandates, and
renewable heat obligations.

Renewable energy target

An official commitment, plan, or goal by a government
(at local, state, national or regional level) to achieve a
certain amount of renewable energy by a future date.
Some targets are legislated while others are set by
regulatory agencies or ministries.

Renewable portfolio standard (RPS)
(also called renewable obligation or quota).

A measure requiring that a minimum percentage of total
electricity or heat sold, or generation capacity installed,
be provided using renewable energy sources. Obligated
utilities are required to ensure that the target is met; if it
is not, a fine is usually levied.

Solar home system (SHS)

A small solar PV panel, battery, and charge controller
that can provide modest amounts of electricity to homes,
usually in rural or remote regions that are not connected
to the electricity grid.

Solar water heating

Solar collectors, usually rooftop mounted but also
on-ground at a larger scale, that heat water and store it
in a tank for later use as hot water or for circulation to
provide space or process heating.

Solar photovoltaic (PV)

A PV cell is the basic manufactured unit that converts
sunlight into electricity. Cells can be used in isolation
(such as on a wristwatch or garden light) or combined
and manufactured into modules and panels that are suit-
able for easy installation on buildings. Thin-film solar PV
materials can be applied as films over existing surfaces
or integrated with building components such as roof
tiles. Some materials can be used for building-integrated
PV (BIPV) by replacing conventional materials in parts
of a building envelope, such as the roof or façade. A pico
PV system is a small solar home system – such as a solar
lamp or an information and communication technology
(ICT) appliance – with a power output of 1–10 Wpeak.

Renewable energy certificate (REC)

A certificate that is awarded to certify the generation of
one unit of renewable energy (typically 1 MWh of elec-
tricity but also less commonly of heat). Certificates can
be accumulated to meet renewable energy obligations
and also provide a tool for trading among consumers
and/or producers. They also are a means of enabling
purchases of voluntary green energy.

Traditional biomass

Unprocessed solid biomass, including agricultural
residues, animal dung, forest products, and gathered fuel
wood, that is combusted in stoves, furnaces, or open fires
to provide heat energy for cooking, comfort, and small-
scale agricultural and industrial processing, typically in
rural areas of developing countries.

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