Geothermal and wind are proving to be the most efficient, both in terms of energy output and in returns per dollar of R&D inputted. Current wind turbine efficiency (the amount of real power generated by the wind turbine as opposed to its potential) is about 30% while really good solar panels are 20%, but usually lower. Geothermal power has an efficiency of around 16%, so it is comparable to solar power, but according to the recent NYU study, its efficiency is improving and advancements are being made at a quicker rate than solar.
Right now, wind seems to be the most efficient form but the point of this NYU study that I’ve linked at the bottom is that wind and geothermal are on the rise, leaving solar behind. Still, I think the research and development are at a point where it’s a bit early to discount one kind of energy, especially since so much depends on location. Some places are prime for solar energy while others could never get efficient energy from solar panels but are perfect for wind turbines.
The NYU Study:
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