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The future of renewable energy has never been a more serious topic of discussion than it is right now. Today, renewable energy resources account for 26% of the world’s electricity. However, according to the International Energy Agency (IEA), its share will reach 30% by 2024. Governments, international organisations, and companies have realised the pressing need for more renewable energy. But how do we look at the future of renewable energy, and what does it mean for future generations?
Solar and wind energy are the two cleanest sources of power generation. Currently, both these sources are receiving increased popularity in powering residences and national grids. These renewable sources are promising for our future. Not only are they sources of clean energy (zero emissions), but they also boost local economies.
Wind power offers employment opportunities to communities. Solar power is a long-term energy option for anyone with a rooftop. However, the costs of installing these energy systems remain enormously high. Nevertheless, experts still predict that our renewable energy capacity will increase by 50% over the next five years. Hydropower, wind power, and solar power will be leading the path towards a cleaner future.
It is crucial to our future that we optimize our use of renewable and sustainable energy sources. It is vital that we address the problems of global warming and a changing climate stemming from our dependency on fossil fuels. Fortunately, the prices of solar power are dropping. Many countries have begun investing in solar and other forms of renewable energy.
For instance, the United States owns 6 of the ten largest onshore wind farms globally. Similarly, the UK has 6 of the ten world’s highest capacity offshore wind farms. Recently, France began moving away from nuclear power and toward renewable energy sources.
Renewable energy is on the rise all around the world. In 2018, the UK installed over one million solar panels all over the country, which was 2% higher than the previous year. Australia reached two million solar panel installations within that same year. While these statistics fill us with hope about the future, experts warn that the world needs to focus more on achieving carbon neutrality.
Yes, it is possible for the whole world to run on renewable energy. But we need to give it time. Some countries transition easier into renewable energy than others. A study suggested that even an oil-dependent country like Saudi Arabia can transition to 100% clean energy by 2040. Saudi Arabia can transition to clean energy much easier than, say, the UK since the country receives more intense solar radiation. However, Saudi Arabia will likely be the most reluctant to do so since most of the country’s wealth comes from the oil trade.
Hydropower will prove to be the most reliable renewable energy source since it is easy to generate power by controlling a water source. Even with its many advantages, solar power is not as reliable since it cannot generate energy in the dark. This would be disadvantageous for a country like Denmark, which receives only six hours of sun in winter. However, even with its small issues, solar power is still one of the most renewable forms of energy throughout the globe.
The future of renewable energy is in our hands, and our survival depends on it being a positive one. The reasons why renewable energy is vital for our future are endless. But here are a few:
We currently breathe in polluted air. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), 4.2 million people die every year from exposure to air pollution. Air pollution is a direct consequence of the burning of fossil fuels. Burning fossil fuels releases enormous quantities of carbon dioxide into our atmosphere, and we breathe in that same air. Switching to renewable energy sources will significantly decrease air pollution, improving the health of humans and the environment.
Climate change is increasing the frequency of extreme weather events like floods and droughts. These weather events leave thousands of people homeless and cause numerous fatalities. Again, the climate is changing because we burn fossil fuels to power our houses and offices. Also, energy generation plants use an enormous amount of water to produce power. This significantly decreases the amount of water available to the rest of the people. Countries like India are prone to extreme weather events. The fatalities in these countries have led the world to take an urgent call on the transition toward renewable energy.
Wind projects on farms allow farmers to gain an additional source of income. They provide employment opportunities to communities in rural areas. Projects like wind energy put jobs on the market since it increases the need for industries and factories to produce the parts needed for the turbines. It also creates jobs like service technicians.
Wind and solar energy projects are low-risk initiatives. These projects are reliable to invest in. The steady rise in these projects provides attractive opportunities for investment.
In 2019, the electricity generated from wind turbines avoided CO2 emissions equivalent to 42 million cars. The functioning of wind turbines does not depend on the burning of fossil fuels. Besides avoiding CO2 emissions, wind energy also cuts down on sulphur dioxide and nitrous oxide emissions.
Climate and industry experts are optimistic about the future of renewable energy. Health problems arising from the use of fossil fuels are one reason why energy production from renewable sources has increased. Also, it is a fact that fossil fuels will run out one day. They are not renewable. If we do not find ways to increase our energy production from renewable sources soon, we will have insufficient energy to power our world. Switching to renewable energy will give the environment and ozone the chance to recover after all the damage we’ve done to them. Ecosystems will not have to be destroyed in the name of powering our lives.