Cleaner, Abundant Fuels Attracting Record Investment | IELTS Academic Reading Sample Question

The passage contains the following question types from IELTS Reading Question Types:

  • Sentence completion
  • Matching information
  • True False Not Given

Cleaner, Abundant Fuels Attracting Record Investment

You should spend about 20 minutes on Questions 1 -13, which are based on Reading Passage below.

A. Renewable energy captured from the wind, sun, Earth’s heat, tides, and from small dams is drawing record levels of investment as poor villagers and entire nations alike seek clean, abundant ways to fuel economic growth. Global investment in renewable energy set a new record of $30 billion in 2004, according to a new report from the Renewable Energy Policy Network for the 21st Century (REN21). Technologies such as wind, solar, biomass, geothermal, and small hydro now provide 160 gigawatts of electricity generating capacity – about four per cent of the world total – the report said. They are growing at rates of around 20-30 per cent per year, however, compared to two or three per cent for oil and gas.

B. “Renewable energy has become big business,” said Eric Martinot, lead author of the study, “Renewables 2005: Global Status Report”. Martinot, a senior fellow at the Washington, DC-based think tank Worldwatch Institute and a lecturer at Tsinghua University in Beijing, said renewable energy has attracted some of the world’s largest companies, including General Electric, Siemens, Sharp, and Royal Dutch Shell. The report estimated that nearly 40 million households worldwide heat their water with solar collectors, most of them installed in the last five years. Altogether, renewable energy industries provide 1.7 million jobs, most of them skilled and well paid.

C. Martinot and 100-plus researchers in more than 20 countries assessed several renewable technologies: small hydro (meaning small dams), modem biomass (agricultural waste, for example), wind, solar, geothermal, and biofuels such as ethanol and biodiesel. These technologies now compete with conventional fuels in four distinct markets: power generation, hot water and space heating, transportation fuels, and rural (off-grid) energy supplies.

D. Renewable energy is gaining in popularity because it is considered to be in infinite supply – unlike oil, coal, and gas – and because it involves little or no pollution compared to those fossil fuels. Scientists blame the burning of fossil fuels for the release of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases that stoke global climate changes, which in turn are intensifying droughts in some parts of the world, floods and storms in others, and the spread of tropical diseases to temperate zones.

E. Additionally, renewable energy could empower millions of poor and vulnerable people who lack access to reliable, affordable, and clean modem energy services, UN Secretary General Kofi Annan said in a message to the Beijing International Renewable Energy Conference, which opened Monday. Annan said that rising oil prices have hit oil-importing developing countries especially hard and underscore the need for alternative energy supplies. According to the REN21 report, government support for renewable energy is growing rapidly. At least 48 countries now have some type of renewable energy promotion policy, including 14 developing countries. Typically, they include targets to ensure that renewable sources generate 5-30 per cent of energy use in a given country by around 2010-2012.

F. The renewable sector’s prospects appeared to receive a further boost Monday, when China announced it was raising its target for reliance on renewable energy even as it acknowledged that coal would remain its primary source for electricity for decades to come. Renewable energy should account for 15 per cent of national consumption by 2020. China had previously aimed to get 10 per cent of its energy from renewable sources by 2020.

G. Mandates for blending biofuels into vehicle fuels have been enacted in 20-plus states and provinces worldwide as well as in three key countries – Brazil, China, and India – the report said. Government leadership has ensured market success, according to REN21, which is composed of representatives of governments and non-governmental organisations. Market leaders in renewable energy in 2004 included Brawl in biofuels, China in solar hot water, Germany in solar electricity, and Spain in wind power, the report said.

H. The fastest-growing energy technology in the world is grid-connected solar photovoltaic (PV), existing capacity of which blossomed by sixty per cent per year from 2000-2004, to cover more than 400,000 rooftops in Japan, Germany, and the United States, it found. Wind power came second, with generating capacity growing by 28 per cent last year with almost seventeen gigawatts installed as of 2004. Production of ethanol, biodiesel, and other biofuels exceeded 33 billion litres in 2004 when ethanol displaced about three per cent of the 1,200 billion litres of gasoline produced globally.

I. An estimated $500 million goes to developing countries each year as development assistance for renewable energy projects, training, and market support, with the German Development Finance Group (GDFG), the World Bank Group, and the Global Environment Facility (GEF) providing the majority of these funds, and dozens of other donors and programmes providing the rest, the report said. More than 4.5 million “green” power consumers in Europe, the United States, Canada, Australia, and Japan purchased renewable electricity in 2004, it added. Asia is seen as a vast market for renewable energy as it seeks to meet the growing demand for power to feed rapid economic expansion amid runaway oil prices.

Questions 1 – 4

The text has 9 paragraphs (A – I). Which paragraph contains each of the following pieces of information?

1) Cases where the use of renewable fuels is in competition with non-renewable ones
2) The membership of REN21
3) The rates at which the use of renewable fuels is growing faster than the use of nonrenewable ones in the world
4)The sources of funding for renewable fuels in developing countries

Questions 5 – 8

Complete the following sentences using NO MORE THAN THREE WORDS from the text for each gap.

5) Biomass technology can use _____________________.
6) Governments with renewable energy policies usually set ______________ for renewable energy use.
7) The most important source of energy for China in 2020 is expected to be _______________.
8) Economic expansion and high oil prices mean that Asian countries are ________________ for renewable sources of energy.

Questions 9 – 13

Do the following statements agree with the information given in Reading Passage? In boxes 9 -13 on your answer sheet, write

TRUE                        if the information in the text agrees with the statement
FALSE                       if the information in the text contradicts with the statement
NOT GIVEN              if there is no information on this

9) Eric Martinot advises large companies on investing in renewable energy.
10) Eric Martinot has over 100 people working in his team.
11) Increases in oil prices hurt developing economies more than developed ones.
12) The use of solar power grew by 60% between the year 2000 and the year 2004.
13) “Green” power consumers only get part of their electricity from alternative energy sources.

Answers for IELTS Reading Sample Question

1) C
2) G
3) A
4) I
5) agricultural waste
6) targets
7) coal
8) a vast market
9) Not Given
10) Not Given
11) True
12) False
13) Not Given