Energy collected from renewable resources, such as sunlight, wind, rain, tides, waves, and geothermal heat, often provides energy in four important areas: electricity generation, air and water heating/cooling, transportation, and rural (off-grid) energy services.

While many renewable energy projects are large-scale, renewable technologies are also suited to rural and remote areas and developing countries, where energy is often crucial to creating prosperity. Overall, it is believed that improving access to cleaner and more modern energy solutions could reduce costs, cut emissions and save lives.

And the barriers to a sustainable, healthier, more cost-effective system are not technological but institutional, operational and political.