Renewable energy

 

Mountains play as key role in providing renewable energy, especially through hydropower, solar power, wind power and biogas for downstream cities and remote mountain communities.

Hydropower currently provides around a fifth of all electricity worldwide, and some countries rely almost exclusively on mountain regions for hydropower generation In Bolivia, Chile, Colombia and Peru, at least 95 percent of hydropower is generated in mountain regions.

Solar power can also be efficiently produced in mountains and other cold regions - contrary to popular belief. The Himalayas and Tropical Andes are particularly promising locations for the development of solar energy, where installations could produce approximately 20 percent more energy than they could at sea level. In Nepal, for example, almost all remote airports and telecommunication facilities are powered by solar energy; solar cookers are widely used in the mountain regions of China and India.

Wind power is a vast, but largely untapped source of potential sustainable energy in mountains. Even at lower elevations, the terrain and topography of mountains can create wind corridors with high wind speeds that are ideally suited for wind turbine development.

Sustainable energy brings benefits to human health, the mountain environment and global climate. Reduced dependency on firewood, for example, can lead to fewer respiratory diseases, improved water and soil conservation, and less black carbon (soot) in the atmosphere – one of the most widespread short-lived climate pollutants.  However, many sustainable energy sources in mountains remain unused or underutilized.

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