Wind turbines of Scout Moor Wind Farm near Ramsbottom Manchester, England
How do people power up around the globe? Whether they're fueling cars, appliances or massive power grids, more and more are harnessing solar and wind power. Take a tour of some of these latest pioneering feats of engineering. Here, a couple strolls underneath the giant wind turbines of Scout Moor Wind Farm near Ramsbottom in Manchester, England.
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Traditional farm windmill in Friday Harbor, Wash.
For generations, people have been harnessing the wind to utilize its power with devices such as this farm windmill silhouetting the snow-capped North Cascade mountain range outside Friday Harbor, Wash.
Edmund Lowe Photography/Getty Images
Wind generator at Tando Harbor, South Korea
Wind turbines convert sea breezes into power in South Korea's Tando Harbor.
Wind turbines and coal power station near Cottbus, Germany
Steam from the cooling towers of the Jaenschwalde brown coal power station billows behind several renewable energy wind turbines near Cottbus, Germany. It's a dramatic visual contrast between older fossil-fuel energy sources and newer green alternatives.
Davos/Green Reuters/Pawel Kopczynski/Files
Polaris Industries wind turbine by Renewable Energy SD in Elgin, Minn.
Scared of heights? The gravity-defying professionals climbing here are referred to as 'tower men.' Towers are often the only way to access large turbines, such as this Polaris Industries wind turbine in Elgin, Minn.
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A windmill at Horns Rev 2 near Esbjerg, Denmark
A worker climbs the ladder to a windmill at Horns Rev 2 in the eastern North Sea. The wind farm sits 19 miles off the west coast of Denmark.
Solar-powered yacht on Yundang Lake in Xiamen, Fujian Province, China
One of several new solar-powered yachts glides along on Yundang Lake in Xiamen, Fujian Province, China. This manmade lake was once part of a large fishing port before it was separated from the sea during a land reclamation project in the 1970s, leaving the water heavily polluted by urban sewage and industrial waste. In the decades since, the lake has witnessed a massive cleanup and green revival.
Women at a solar cooker in West Bengal, India
Cooking with sun power: Two women show off a solar cooker in West Bengal, India. These solar-powered cookers are a low-cost solution used around the world in preparing meals and pasteurizing foods.
Rex Features, 2012
A tea house with a shower powered by solar thermal panels in Nepal
In the Himalayan foothills of Nepal, a tea house advertises that its shower is powered by solar thermal panels. A hot shower can feel pretty good when you're sky high.
Solucar solar panel park in Sanlucar la Mayor near Seville, Spain
At first glance, this may look like a graveyard, but the Solucar solar park is buzzing with activity. The 624 giant movable mirrors concentrate the sun's rays, reflecting them on a giant tower that generates 11 megawatts of electricity. The park is in Sanlucar la Mayor, Spain, in the province of Seville, a sunny spot that averages more than 320 days of clear skies a year.
Marcelo del Pozo/Newscom/Reuters
Close-up of solar panels at Solucar Solar Park in Sanlucar La Mayor, Spain
A close-up view of a new PS20 panel at Solucar Solar Park in Sanlucar la Mayor, Spain.
Davos/Green Reuters/Marcelo del Pozo/Files
IHS Zodiac solar-powered car from Irondequoit High Scool near Rochester, N.Y.
High school kids in Maryland check out the I.H.S. Zodiac, a solar-powered car from Irondequoit High School near Rochester, N.Y. The car was part of the Drive to Survive, a two-week junket from Los Angeles to Washington, D.C., featuring cutting-edge vehicles powered by hydrogen, electricity, compressed natural gas, biodeisel, ethenol, methenol and solar energy. Participants hope to generate interest in energy independence by increasing fuel efficiency, promoting alternative energy and decreasing U.S. dependence on foreign oil.
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Electric Piaggio Porter, made by The Artificial Vision and Intelligent Systems Laboratory (VisLab) of Parma University in Kiev, Ukraine. August 4, 2010
Crew members ride in mainly solar-powered Electric Piaggio Porters made by the Artificial Vision and Intelligent Systems Laboratory (VisLab) of Parma University in Italy. Only the lead vehicle in the convoy is being driven by a person. The other is driven remotely by a computer in Kiev, Ukraine.
Solar car in Atacama Solar Challenge in Santiago, Chile
A solar car races by in the promotional launch of the Atacama Solar Challenge in Santiago, Chile, on Jan. 11, 2012. Several solar cars from Latin America took part in the Atacama desert race, passing through Antofagasta, Calama and Iquique city, over a distance of 658 miles.
Solar car in the Atacama Solar Challenge in Santiago, Chile
A racer drives his solar-powered car during a promotional launch of the Atacama Solar Challenge in Santiago, Chile, on Jan. 11, 2012.
Solar panels made of photovoltaic solar energy cells in Hami, China
Meet the cutting edge of solar panel technology. Photovoltaic solar cells such as these in Hami, China, convert sunlight into electricity at the atomic level. The cells absorb photons of light and release electrons; when the electrons are captured, they're converted into electricity.
Photovoltaic solar energy cells in Hami, China
Workers in Hami, China, service photovoltaic grids, which are encapsulated in clear cases.
Rex Features, 2012
Templin solar power plant in Brandenburg, Germany
An aerial view captures the vast expanse of Templin solar power plant in Brandenburg, Germany. It's a new use for the former Gross Dolln military airfield.
Action Press/Rex Features
Solar roof panels in the 17th arrondissement of Paris, France
Solar panels adorn the rooftop of a modern building in the 17th Arrondissement of Paris.
V. Warter/20 Minutes/SIPA/Rex Features
Robotic cricket at Tokyo International Gift Show in Japan
Solar energy gives life to a robotic cricket at the 75th Tokyo International Gift Show, an exhibition of personal gifts, consumer goods and decorative accessories. It's the largest international trade show in Japan.
Solar-powered robot at Tokyo International Gift Show in Japan
Another solar-powered robot at TIGS in Tokyo.
Wind turbines at Nevada wind farm
Green technology can be beautiful, too. Here's an interesting photo captured by aligning 14 wind turbines on a Nevada wind farm. Note how small the truck driving straight for us on the service road appears.
Wind turbines in Rokkasho village, Aomori Prefecture, Japan
A field of wind turbines produces electricity in Rokkasho village in the Aomori Prefecture in northern Japan.
AP Photo/Koji Sasahara
Sunny Valley solar energy structure at the Shanghai World Expo in China
A construction worker cleans the exterior of 'Sunny Valley,' a solar energy structure at the 2010 Shanghai World Expo site in China.
Swiss solar-powered aircraft at Paris International Air Show
German test pilot Markus Scherdel flies the Swiss solar-powered aircraft Solar Impulse at the Paris International Air Show at Le Bourget airport in France on June 26, 2011. The high-flying show claims to be the world's oldest and largest of its kind.
Pierre Verdy/AFP/Getty Images
Experimental aircraft Solar Impulse in Payerne, Switzerland
The experimental aircraft Solar Impulse takes off from Payerne, Switzerland, on its first intercontinental flight, to Rabat, Morocco, on May 24, 2012. The goal for the zero-fuel airplane is to circumnavigate the world powered only by solar energy.
Solar power plant in Diriamba, Nicaragua
A photographer walks among solar panels at a power plant in Diriamba, Nicaragua, on Feb. 21, 2013. According to a facility official, the 5,880 panels, donated by Japan, will generate 1.38 megawatts of electricity, powering 1,100 homes.
U.S Rep. Martin Heinrich in Lobo del Sol, a solar-powered car, in Albuquerque, New Mexico
U.S Rep. Martin Heinrich, D-N.M., sits in the driver's seat of Lobo del Sol, a solar-powered car designed by students in the University of New Mexico Electrical and Computer Engineering school in Albuquerque on April 29, 2011. The car took part in the Formula Sun Grand Prix 2011 as part of the 2011 Indy 500 events, competing against other university team cars.
Roberto E. Rosales/Albuquerque Journal
House entered in the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon
Energy efficient homes, such as this one, are built to compete in the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon. Final construction is graded on measurements of 'comfort zone, hot water, appliances, home entertainment and net metering.' Here, an Ohio team contestant works on a computer outside his teams' designed home on Oct. 14, 2009.
Tom Williams/Roll Call/Getty Images
A GoalZero solar-powered Yeti 150 at CES in Las Vegas, Nevada
A Yeti 150 is among the GoalZero has on display at the opening media event of the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas on Jan. 6, 2013. The Yeti 150 uses solar power to generate enough electricity to run electronic devices such as laptops and digital cameras. The company sells generators and solar panels in several sizes.
Sun Xtender PVX-560T solar battery and portable solar office
Other sun-power alternatives to charge up your gear include the Sun Xtender PVX-560T solar battery and portable solar office. The kit comes with a router, weatherproof connectors, solar panel and charge controller.
John B. Carnett/Bonnier Corporation via Getty Images
Kandeh Yumkella with solar powered lamp at Clinton Global Initiative
Kandeh Yumkella, the director general of the United Nations Industrial Development Organization, holds up a solar-powered lamp as an example of green technology that can assist in improving the health of people in developing countries. Yumkella's presentation was part of the Clinton Global Initiative in New York City on Sept. 23, 2012. The CGI, created by former President Bill Clinton in 2005, brings together global leaders to discuss solutions to many of the world's problems.