The Guatemalan Highlands is an upland region in southern Guatemala, lying between the Sierra Madre de Chiapas to the south and the Petén lowlands to the north. The highlands are made up of a series of high valleys enclosed by mountains; the local name for the region is Altos, meaning "highlands", which includes the northern declivity of the Sierra Madre. The mean elevation is least in the east. A few of the streams of the Pacific slope rise in the highlands, force a way through the Sierra Madre at the bottom of deep ravines. One large river, the Chixoy or Salinas River, escapes northwards towards the Gulf of Mexico; the relief of the mountainous country which lies north of the Highlands and drains into the Atlantic is varied by innumerable terraces and underfalls. The parallel ranges extend west with a slight southerly curve towards their centres. A range called the Sierra de Chamá, however, changes its name from place to place, strikes eastward towards Belize, is connected by low hills with the Cockscomb Mountains.
Between Honduras and Guatemala, the frontier is formed by the Sierra de Merendón. In addition to the streams which break through to the Pacific, a number of larger streams which drain to the Gulf of Mexico or the Caribbean Sea have their sources in the highlands; the Motagua River, whose principal head stream is called the Rio Grande, has a course of about 250 miles, is navigable to within 90 miles of Guatemala City, situated on one of its confluents, the Rio de las Vacas. It empties in the Gulf of an arm of the Caribbean. Of similar importance is the Polochic River, about 180 miles in length, navigable about 20 miles above the river-port of Telemán. A vast number of streams, among which are the Chixoy, Lacantún, Ixcán, unite to form the Usumacinta River, which passes along the Mexican frontier, flowing on through Chiapas and Tabasco, falls into the Bay of Campeche; the Grijalva and its tributaries the Cuilco and San Miguel rivers drain west into the Chiapas Depression, from there into the Gulf of Mexico.
Lake Atitlan is a land-locked basin. About 9 miles south of Guatemala City lies Lake Amatitlan with the town Amatitlán; the highlands have a long occupational history, with many Maya archaeological sites that include Zaculeu, Iximché, Mixco Viejo, Q'umarkaj, San Mateo Ixtatán, Chitinamit and many more. Tropical savanna climates have monthly mean temperature above 18 °C in every month of the year and a pronounced dry season, with the driest month having precipitation less than 60mm of precipitation; the Köppen Climate Classification subtype for this climate is "Aw".. Altiplano Guiana Highlands Mexican Plateau Map of Guatemala, including principal rivers This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Chisholm, Hugh, ed.. "Guatemala". Encyclopædia Britannica. 12. Cambridge University Press. Pp. 661–664
Santa María (volcano)
Santa María Volcano is a large active volcano in the western highlands of Guatemala, in the Quetzaltenango Department near the city of Quetzaltenango. The volcano was known as Gagxanul in the local K'iche' language, before the 16th century Spanish conquest of the region; the VEI-6 eruption of Santa María Volcano in 1902 was one of the three largest eruptions of the 20th century, after the 1912 Novarupta and 1991 Mount Pinatubo eruptions. It is one of the five biggest eruptions of the past 200 years. Santa María Volcano is part of the Sierra Madre range of volcanoes, which extends along the western edge of Guatemala, separated from the Pacific Ocean by a broad plain; the volcanoes are formed by the subduction of the Cocos Plate under the Caribbean Plate, which led to the formation of the Central America Volcanic Arc. Eruptions at Santa María are estimated to have begun about 30,000 years ago. For several thousand years, eruptions seem to have been small and frequent, building up the large cone of the volcano, reaching about 1,400 metres above the plain on which the nearby city of Quetzaltenango sits.
Following the cone-building eruptions, activity seems to have changed to a pattern of long periods of repose followed by the emission of small lava flows from vents on the mountain. The first eruption of Santa María in recorded history occurred in October 1902. Before 1902 the volcano had been dormant for at least 500 years and several thousand years, but its awakening was indicated by a seismic swarm in the region starting in January 1902, which included a major earthquake in April 1902; the eruption began on 24 October, the largest explosions occurred over the following two days, ejecting an estimated 5.5 cubic kilometres of magma. The eruption was one of the largest of the 20th century, only less in magnitude to that of Mount Pinatubo in 1991; the eruption had a Volcanic Explosivity Index of 6, thus being'Colossal'. The pumice formed in the climactic eruption fell over an area of about 273,000 square kilometres, volcanic ash as far away as San Francisco, 4,000 kilometres away; the lateral blast tore away much of the south-western flank of the volcano, leaving a crater about 1 kilometre in diameter and about 300 metres deep, stretching from just below the summit to an elevation of about 2,300 metres.
The first evidence of the eruption was a sprinkling of sand on Quezaltenango. The wind changed from the south to the east and ashes began to fall at Helvetia, a coffee plantation six miles to the South-West; because of the lack of recorded eruptive activity at Santa María, local people did not recognise the preceding seismicity as warning signs of an eruption. Estimates are that 6,000 people died as a result of the eruption. In the middle of the disaster, Quetzaltenango regional authorities had to take charge, as the central government was focused on the celebration of the "Fiestas Minervalias", the largest propaganda festival of president Manuel Estrada Cabrera' regime. Furthermore, the official government response was to tell Quetzaltenango authorities that there were no funds for the recovery, as those were spent to help after the April 1902 earthquake. Under such circumstances, Quetzaltenango regional authorities declared that all the West zone agricultural harvest was ruined, forecasted famine due to food shortages.
They were allowed by the central government to import flour free of taxes for the next few months. For the native people the eruption consequences were catastrophic: they not only lost relatives, friends and harvest, but they were forced to work free of charge in the recovery while "criollo" landlords were compensated by the loss with lands that were confiscated from native communities in San Miguel Uspantán Quiché Department, Panam in Suchitepéquez Department and in Sololá Department. 24 October: 5:00 pm: At San Felipe a sound was heard, similar to the roar of a waterfall, for five minutes, coming from the volcano. 24 October: 6:00 pm: Cinders and ashes started falling over Quetzaltenango 24 October: 7:00 pm: Witnesses recall seeing lightning and a strong fiery red light coming from the volcano, noise similar of that of an industrial furnace. 24 October: 8:00 pm: From San Felipe one could see a giant plume of black ash with numerous whirlwinds crossed by thousands of lightning bolts and curved lines of red light.
All the area surrounding the volcano kept shaking and large explosions could be heard as far as 160 kilometers away. 25 October: 1:00 am: The eruption became more violent and large rocks from the volcano started falling as far as 14 km away, destroying towns and farm houses. 26 October: 12:00 am: The volcano calmed down. 26 October: 3:00 pm: Another eruption, but this time it was a white plume that came out, composed of water vapor. The 1902 eruption was followed by 20 years of dormancy. New eruptions began in 1922, with the extrusion of a lava dome in the crater left by the 1902 eruption; the lava dome, named Santiaguito, is still active today with over 1km^3 of lava erupted so far. Four main domes have been formed: El Caliente, La Mitad, El Monje and El Brujo; the active vent is El Caliente. The dom
Antigua Guatemala referred to as just Antigua or la Antigua, is a city in the central highlands of Guatemala famous for its well-preserved Spanish Baroque-influenced architecture as well as a number of ruins of colonial churches. It served as the capital of the Kingdom of Guatemala, it has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage site. Antigua Guatemala serves as the municipal seat for the surrounding municipality of the same name, it serves as the departmental capital of Sacatepéquez Department. The city had a peak population of some 60,000 in the 1770s. Despite significant population growth in the late 20th century, the city had only reached half that number by the 1990s. At the time of the 2007 census, the city had 34,685 inhabitants. Antigua Guatemala was the third capital of Guatemala; the first capital of Guatemala was founded on the site of a Kakchikel-Maya city, now called Iximche, on Monday, July 25, 1524—the day of Saint James—and therefore named Ciudad de Santiago de los Caballeros de Goathemalan.
St. James became the patron saint of the city. After several Kaqchikel uprisings, the capital was moved to a more suitable site in the Valley of Almolonga on November 22, 1527, kept its original name; this new city was located on the site of present-day San Miguel Escobar, a neighborhood in the municipality of Ciudad Vieja. This city was destroyed on September 1541 by a devastating lahar from the Volcán de Agua; as a result, the colonial authorities decided to move the capital once more, this time five miles away to the Panchoy Valley. So, on March 10, 1543 the Spanish conquistadors founded present-day Antigua, again, it was named Santiago de los Caballeros. For more than 200 years, it served as the seat of the military governor of the Spanish colony of Guatemala, a large region that included all of present-day Central America and the southernmost State of Mexico: Chiapas. Santiago de los Caballeros was the third seat of the capital called kingdom of Guatemala, which included the current states of Guatemala, Belize, El Salvador, Honduras and Costa Rica, besides modern state of Chiapas in Mexico.
After a flood destroyed the second city, located in the Valley of Almolonga, on the slopes of Volcán de Agua a new city was built in 1543 in the Valley of Panchoy, it was established as head of the Real Audiencia of Guatemala in 1549. During its development and splendor, it was known as one of the three most beautiful cities of the Spanish Indies; the city was laid out in a square pattern, with streets running north to south and from east to west, with a central square. Both church and government buildings were designated important places around the central plaza. Between 1549 and 1563, property southeast of the square was sold to the crown and occupied by the first president of the Real Audiencia de los Confines: the lawyer Alonso Lopez Cerrato, who served as governor and captain general; the original building was small and paneled with portal, tile roof, adobe walls. The city is surrounded by three enormous volcanoes and mountains and hills; this territory was called "Valley of Guatemala" and had 73 villages, two towns and the city of Santiago de los Caballeros.
Due to constant problems between the conquerors and the representatives of the crown sent by the king of Spain, the Audiencia de los Confines was abolished in 1565. In 1570 the assembly was restored, this time independent of the viceroy of Mexico and the new organization was called Audiencia of Guatemala; the Franciscan friars were the first to move into the valley Panchoy, the new capital of the Kingdom of Guatemala, built a chapel on the site where the Church Escuela de Cristo would be erected. This primitive chapel was destroyed in 1575 by an earthquake and during the next ten years collections were made to build the new complex, two blocks from the previous one; the Franciscan complex became a major cultural and religious center for the entire Captaincy General of Guatemala: Theologians, philosophers and mathematicians studied in the school of San Buenaventura, located where the monastery ruins are. Notable students included Cristóbal de Villalpando, Thomas Merlo, Alonso de Paz; the first building of a cathedral was begun in 1545 with the debris brought from the destroyed settlement in the valley of Almolonga.
The city was the final resting place of the great Spanish chronicler Bernal Díaz del Castillo, his remains were interred in one of the churches, ruined by earthquakes. The construction of the royal houses for the residence of the Captain General and the members of the Real Audiencia started in 1558. In the sixteenth century, there were several important earthquakes on the following dates: March 21, 1530 September 11, 1541 1565 1575 November 30, 1577 December 23, 1585In 1566 King Felipe II of Spain gave it the title of "Muy Noble y Muy Leal"; the Jesuits founded the school of "San Lucas of the Society of Jesus" in 1608, which became famous and was unrivaled in terms of literature and grammar lessons. On 18 July 1626, the Jesuit temple was inaugurated.
Mexico the United Mexican States, is a country in the southern portion of North America. It is bordered to the north by the United States. Covering 2,000,000 square kilometres, the nation is the fifth largest country in the Americas by total area and the 13th largest independent state in the world. With an estimated population of over 120 million people, the country is the eleventh most populous state and the most populous Spanish-speaking state in the world, while being the second most populous nation in Latin America after Brazil. Mexico is a federation comprising 31 states and Mexico City, a special federal entity, the capital city and its most populous city. Other metropolises in the state include Guadalajara, Puebla, Tijuana and León. Pre-Columbian Mexico dates to about 8000 BC and is identified as one of five cradles of civilization and was home to many advanced Mesoamerican civilizations such as the Olmec, Teotihuacan, Zapotec and Aztec before first contact with Europeans. In 1521, the Spanish Empire conquered and colonized the territory from its politically powerful base in Mexico-Tenochtitlan, administered as the viceroyalty of New Spain.
Three centuries the territory became a nation state following its recognition in 1821 after the Mexican War of Independence. The post-independence period was tumultuous, characterized by economic inequality and many contrasting political changes; the Mexican–American War led to a territorial cession of the extant northern territories to the United States. The Pastry War, the Franco-Mexican War, a civil war, two empires, the Porfiriato occurred in the 19th century; the Porfiriato was ended by the start of the Mexican Revolution in 1910, which culminated with the promulgation of the 1917 Constitution and the emergence of the country's current political system as a federal, democratic republic. Mexico has the 11th largest by purchasing power parity; the Mexican economy is linked to those of its 1994 North American Free Trade Agreement partners the United States. In 1994, Mexico became the first Latin American member of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, it is classified as an upper-middle income country by the World Bank and a newly industrialized country by several analysts.
The country is considered both a regional power and a middle power, is identified as an emerging global power. Due to its rich culture and history, Mexico ranks first in the Americas and seventh in the world for number of UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Mexico is an ecologically megadiverse country, ranking fourth in the world for its biodiversity. Mexico receives a huge number of tourists every year: in 2018, it was the sixth most-visited country in the world, with 39 million international arrivals. Mexico is a member of the United Nations, the World Trade Organization, the G8+5, the G20, the Uniting for Consensus group of the UN, the Pacific Alliance trade bloc. Mēxihco is the Nahuatl term for the heartland of the Aztec Empire, namely the Valley of Mexico and surrounding territories, with its people being known as the Mexica, it is believed to be a toponym for the valley which became the primary ethnonym for the Aztec Triple Alliance as a result, although it could have been the other way around.
In the colonial era, back when Mexico was called New Spain this territory became the Intendency of Mexico and after New Spain achieved independence from the Spanish Empire it came to be known as the State of Mexico with the new country being named after its capital: the City of Mexico, which itself was founded in 1524 on top of the ancient Mexica capital of Mexico-Tenochtitlan. Traditionally, the name Tenochtitlan was thought to come from Nahuatl tetl and nōchtli and is thought to mean "Among the prickly pears rocks". However, one attestation in the late 16th-century manuscript known as "the Bancroft dialogues" suggests the second vowel was short, so that the true etymology remains uncertain; the suffix -co is the Nahuatl locative, making the word a place name. Beyond that, the etymology is uncertain, it has been suggested that it is derived from Mextli or Mēxihtli, a secret name for the god of war and patron of the Mexica, Huitzilopochtli, in which case Mēxihco means "place where Huitzilopochtli lives".
Another hypothesis suggests that Mēxihco derives from a portmanteau of the Nahuatl words for "moon" and navel. This meaning might refer to Tenochtitlan's position in the middle of Lake Texcoco; the system of interconnected lakes, of which Texcoco formed the center, had the form of a rabbit, which the Mesoamericans pareidolically associated with the moon rabbit. Still another hypothesis suggests that the word is derived from Mēctli, the name of the goddess of maguey; the name of the city-state was transliterated to Spanish as México with the phonetic value of the letter x in Medieval Spanish, which represented the voiceless postalveolar fricative. This sound, as well as the voiced postalveolar fricative, represented by a j, evolved into a voiceless velar fricative during the 16th century; this led to the use of the variant Méjico in many publications in Spanish, most notably in Spain, whereas in Mexico and most other Spanish–speaking countries, México was the preferred spelling. In recent years, the Real Academia Española, which regulates the Spanish l
Pacaya is an active complex volcano in Guatemala, which first erupted 23,000 years ago and has erupted at least 23 times since the Spanish invasion of Guatemala. Pacaya rises to an elevation of 2,552 metres. After being dormant for over 70 years, it began erupting vigorously in 1961 and has been erupting since then. Much of its activity is Strombolian, but occasional Plinian eruptions occur, sometimes showering the area of the nearby Departments with ash. Pacaya is a popular tourist attraction. Pacaya close to Antigua; the volcano sits inside the Escuintla Department. So far, the last activity reported has been the eruption that peaked on March 2, 2014 causing ash to rain down in Guatemala City and Escuintla; the Pacaya volcano is a part of the Central American Volcanic Arc, a chain of volcanoes stretching from the northwest to the southeast along the Pacific coast of Central America, formed by the tectonic subduction of the Cocos Tectonic Plate beneath the Caribbean Plate. Pacaya lies on the southern edge of a sizable volcanic caldera formed in the Pleistocene age which contains Lago de Amatitlán.
This caldera has been the source of at least nine large explosions over the past 300,000 years, erupting a total of about 70 cubic kilometres of magma. After the last caldera-forming eruption 23,000 years ago several smaller vents within and around the caldera have seen eruptive activity. Pacaya is the largest post-caldera volcano, has been one of Central America's most active volcanoes over the last 500 years, it has erupted at least 23 times since producing basalt and basaltic andesite. About 1,100 years ago, the volcano's edifice collapsed. Deposits from the landslide travelled about 25 kilometres from the volcano down to the Pacific coastal plain; the landslide left a large crater, within. The presence of a magma chamber at shallow depths beneath Pacaya means that distortion of the cone leading to instability and future landslides remains a hazard to the surrounding areas. With its continuous activity, the volcano has been a popular location for tourism. Pacaya is accessible from Guatemala City and from Antigua.
The volcano and surrounding area now lie within the Pacaya National Park, created to supervise and protect tourism in this region. The Pacaya Park generates its income from tour groups. In 1998, several explosive eruptions emitted lava and ash columns with a height of 1500 m - 5000 m. Ash fall affected nearby cities including La Aurora airport. During 2006, a slight increase in Pacaya's volcanic activity brought about the creation of several lava rivers that flow down its slope. Word about these phenomena spread, local tourism increased significantly. On May 27, 2010, the Pacaya volcano erupted, followed by several tremors. At 20:00 hours there was a strong eruption ejecting debris and ash columns up to 1500 meters. Ash rained down in many Guatemalan cities including Guatemala City; the volcanic ash fall pelted Guatemala City, the international airport, La Aurora. The National Coordinator for Disaster Reduction declared a red alert for the communities near the volcano, recommended the evacuation of some of them.
Noti7 reporter Anibal Archila, one of the first to cover the event, was reported killed by volcanic debris. President Álvaro Colom declared a state of calamity in the region adjacent to the volcano, the Ministry of Education closed the schools in the departments of Guatemala and Sacatepequez. Heavy rainfall from Tropical Storm Agatha worsened the emergency situation, causing lahars and widespread flooding across the country. However, people working in coffee fields considered the rain brought by the storm to be helpful, removing ash from their trees. Central America Volcanic Arc Pacaya images and information from VolcanoWorld BBC News article about an eruption in 2000 Pacaya 1992 auf Vulkanfaszination Pacaya
Hurricane Mitch was the second-deadliest Atlantic hurricane on record, causing over 11,000 fatalities in Central America, with over 7,000 occurring in Honduras alone due to the catastrophic flooding it wrought, due to the slow motion of the storm. It was the deadliest hurricane in Central America, surpassing Hurricane Fifi–Orlene, which killed fewer people there in 1974; the thirteenth named storm, ninth hurricane, third major hurricane of the 1998 Atlantic hurricane season, Mitch formed in the western Caribbean Sea on October 22, after drifting through favorable conditions, it strengthened to peak at Category 5 status, the highest possible rating on the Saffir–Simpson Hurricane Scale. After drifting southwestward and weakening, the hurricane hit Honduras as a minimal hurricane. Mitch drifted through Central America, regenerated in the Bay of Campeche, struck Florida as a strong tropical storm, it became extratropical and accelerated northeastward across the North Atlantic, before dissipating on November 9.
At the time, Mitch was the strongest Atlantic hurricane observed in the month of October, though it has since been surpassed by Hurricane Wilma of the 2005 season. In addition, Mitch is the eighth-most intense Atlantic hurricane on record. Mitch caused catastrophic impacts across its path, but the most disastrous impacts came from Honduras, which suffered over half of the total deaths; the President of Honduras estimated. The storm wrecked about 35,000 houses and damaged another 50,000, leaving up to 1.5 million people homeless, or about 20% of the country's population. Mitch directly caused $2.005 billion with an additional $1.8 billion in indirect costs. Most of the damage was ruined crops, cash crop exports were cut by 9.4% in 1999 due to the storm. Over 70% of the transportation infrastructure was damaged damaged highways and bridges. Widespread areas experienced power outages, about 70% of the country lost water after the storm. In the capital, Tegucigalpa, a large landslide affected three neighborhoods and formed a temporary dam.
Floods in the city damaged buildings. Throughout the country, there were at least 7,000 fatalities, some reported in each department. Following the storm, officials in Honduras requested international assistance, which totaled $2.8 billion over a several year period. Despite this, the gross domestic product began decreasing at the end of 1998, contracted by 1.9% in 1999. Officials enacted a widespread curfew following the storm, for 15 days temporarily restricted constitutional rights to maintain order. There were outbreaks in various diseases, many residents faced food and water shortages. Due to the slow motion from October 29 to November 3, Hurricane Mitch dropped historic amounts of rainfall in Honduras and Nicaragua, with unofficial reports of up to 75 inches. Deaths due to catastrophic flooding made it the second deadliest Atlantic hurricane in history after the Great Hurricane of 1780. Additionally 2.7 million were left homeless as a result of the hurricane. Total damages caused by the hurricane were estimated to be around $6 billion.
Tropical Depression Thirteen formed on October 22 over the southwestern Caribbean Sea, from a tropical wave that exited Africa on October 10. It executed a small loop, while doing so intensified into Tropical Storm Mitch. A weakness in a ridge allowed the storm to track to the north. After becoming disorganized due to wind shear from an upper-level low, Mitch intensified in response to favorable conditions, including warm waters and good outflow, it developed an eye. After turning to the west, Mitch intensified, first into a major hurricane on October 25 and into a Category 5 on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Scale the next day. At peak intensity, Mitch maintained maximum sustained winds of 180 mph while off the northern coast of Honduras. Hurricane Hunters reported a minimum barometric pressure of 905 mbar, which at the time was the lowest in the month of October and tied for the fourth lowest for any Atlantic hurricane; the National Hurricane Center and various tropical cyclone forecast models anticipated a turn to the north, threatening the Yucatán peninsula.
Instead, Mitch turned to the south, due to a ridge, not observed while the storm was active. Land interaction imparted weakening, the hurricane made landfall on Honduras on October 29 with winds of 80 mph. Mitch weakened while turning to the west over land, maintaining deep convection over waters. After moving across mountainous terrain in Central America, the surface circulation of Mitch dissipated on November 1; the next day, the remnants reached the Gulf of Mexico, which reorganized into a tropical storm on November 3. Mitch accelerated to the northeast ahead of a cold front, moving across the Yucatán peninsula before striking near Naples, Florida on November 5. Shortly thereafter, the storm became an extratropical cyclone, tracked by the NHC until November 9, at a point north of Scotland. Due to the threat, the government of Honduras evacuated some of the 45,000 citizens on the Bay Islands and prepared all air and naval resources; the government of Belize issued a purple alert and asked for citizens on offshore islands to leave for the mainland.
Because the hurricane threatened to strike near Belize City as a Category 4 hurricane, much of the city was evacuated in fear of a repeat of Hurricane Hattie 37 years earlier. Guatemala issued a purpl
Renewable energy is energy, collected from renewable resources, which are replenished on a human timescale, such as sunlight, rain, tides and geothermal heat. Renewable energy provides energy in four important areas: electricity generation and water heating/cooling and rural energy services. Based on REN21's 2017 report, renewables contributed 19.3% to humans' global energy consumption and 24.5% to their generation of electricity in 2015 and 2016, respectively. This energy consumption is divided as 8.9% coming from traditional biomass, 4.2% as heat energy, 3.9% from hydroelectricity and the remaining 2.2% is electricity from wind, solar and other forms of biomass. Worldwide investments in renewable technologies amounted to more than US$286 billion in 2015. Globally, there are an estimated 7.7 million jobs associated with the renewable energy industries, with solar photovoltaics being the largest renewable employer. Renewable energy systems are becoming more efficient and cheaper and their share of total energy consumption is increasing.
As of 2015 worldwide, more than half of all new electricity capacity installed was renewable. Growth in consumption of coal and oil could end by 2020 due to increased uptake of renewables and natural gas. At the national level, at least 30 nations around the world have renewable energy contributing more than 20 percent of energy supply. National renewable energy markets are projected to continue to grow in the coming decade and beyond; some places and at least two countries and Norway, generate all their electricity using renewable energy and many other countries have the set a goal to reach 100% renewable energy in the future. At least 47 nations around the world have over 50 percent of electricity from renewable resources. Renewable energy resources exist over wide geographical areas, in contrast to fossil fuels, which are concentrated in a limited number of countries. Rapid deployment of renewable energy and energy efficiency technologies is resulting in significant energy security, climate change mitigation, economic benefits.
In international public opinion surveys there is strong support for promoting renewable sources such as solar power and wind power. While many renewable energy projects are large-scale, renewable technologies are suited to rural and remote areas and developing countries, where energy is crucial in human development; as most of renewable energy technologies provide electricity, renewable energy deployment is applied in conjunction with further electrification, which has several benefits: electricity can be converted to heat, can be converted into mechanical energy with high efficiency, is clean at the point of consumption. In addition, electrification with renewable energy is more efficient and therefore leads to significant reductions in primary energy requirements, because most renewable energy technologies do not need a thermodynamic cycle with high losses. Renewable energy flows involve natural phenomena such as sunlight, tides, plant growth, geothermal heat, as the International Energy Agency explains: Renewable energy is derived from natural processes that are replenished constantly.
In its various forms, it derives directly from the sun, or from heat generated deep within the earth. Included in the definition is electricity and heat generated from solar, ocean, biomass, geothermal resources, biofuels and hydrogen derived from renewable resources. Renewable energy resources and significant opportunities for energy efficiency exist over wide geographical areas, in contrast to other energy sources, which are concentrated in a limited number of countries. Rapid deployment of renewable energy and energy efficiency, technological diversification of energy sources, would result in significant energy security and economic benefits, it would reduce environmental pollution such as air pollution caused by burning of fossil fuels and improve public health, reduce premature mortalities due to pollution and save associated health costs that amount to several hundred billion dollars annually only in the United States. Renewable energy sources, that derive their energy from the sun, either directly or indirectly, such as hydro and wind, are expected to be capable of supplying humanity energy for another 1 billion years, at which point the predicted increase in heat from the sun is expected to make the surface of the earth too hot for liquid water to exist.
Climate change and global warming concerns, coupled with high oil prices, peak oil, increasing government support, are driving increasing renewable energy legislation and commercialization. New government spending and policies helped the industry weather the global financial crisis better than many other sectors. According to a 2011 projection by the International Energy Agency, solar power generators may produce most of the world's electricity within 50 years, reducing the emissions of greenhouse gases that harm the environment; as of 2011, small solar PV systems provide electricity to a few million households, micro-hydro configured into mini-grids serves many more. Over 44 million households use biogas made in household-scale digesters for lighting and/or cooking, more than 166 million households rely on a new generation of more-efficient biomass cookstoves. 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.
At the national level, at least 30 nations around the world have renewable energy contributing more than 20% of energy supply. Na