Renewable energy has started to become a topic of interest for the world's population. The fact that spending for such energy sources has increased by 40% in the past year, says that the idea is growing further. Like all social problems, the more issues traditional energy causes, the more people in society decide and push for change. One of the big things that helped this increase in spending was the Fukushima nuclear energy plant disaster in Japan (meltdown of reactors from an earthquake/tsunami that caused radioactive material to be released). As a result of this disaster, Germany has decided to shut down all of it's nuclear power plants by 2022 and replace them with alternative energy sources.
One of the traditional problems that alternative energy faced that helped to block the advancement and use of more alternative energy sources is the reliance on coal. People who have made a significant amount of money from the coal market are less willing to invest in different sources of energy. Other energy sources will take away from coal profits and will also make less than coal profits at first. This is slowly beginning to change as potential for alternative energy markets increases.
In the future there will likely be a continued rise in alternative energy spending. Wind power and the use of biofuels are the most likely leaders, given that several third world countries have potential to make a market of biofuels (increase in oil costs / low investment costs) and the increase in wind power initiatives such as British onshore wind power.
The increase in global spending for alternative energy is great. With our global society almost at peak oil consumption, investment in alternative energy is significantly past due. My preferred method of renewable energy is wind power. I believe there is a large potential especially for offshore/onshore projects, but not all nations are on the coast, so we need other resources such as biofuels and solar power. One of the things I find interesting, is the job market and the economy in relation to such increased spending. Would third world countries begin to become more developed or would the past repeat itself with developed countries taking over/advantage of the resources? I also inquire about the job market: would in get better, worse, or stay the same? It would probably provide more jobs while the projects are being built and put together, but after completion, where will unemployment rates be? I do think that alternative energy sources have a long way to go before they are successfully competing with oil, coal, and nuclear power but alternative energy will eventually win.