The global renewable energy sector has been growing steadily over the last few years. Green energy production is growing in every sector, thanks to rising efficiency, falling costs, and concerns over global warming finally reaching businesses despite decades of evidence.
The prices associated with solar, wind, and hydroelectric energy are more stable than traditional fossil fuels, and these methods are helping to lower air pollution in the areas where they’re most active. We know that a 100% green energy future is possible, and that the renewable energy market creates more jobs than the fossil fuel industry loses.
But how has renewable energy grown, and how will this technology change and develop in the future?
Renewable energy now accounts for a third of world’s total energy capacity, around 2,351 Gigawatts. 171 Gigawatts of energy was added onto the grid in 2018, and 84% of this was generated through wind and solar energy. These are the two largest providers for clean energy, and are easy to produce at scale, and are becoming ever more attractive for both homes and businesses, as the cost per kWh continues to fall. This, coupled with the rising costs of fossil fuels as reserves dwindle, means that renewable energy sources are looking to be more and more prevalent as we move into a post-carbon future.
The total amount of solar energy available increased by 24% in 2018. This is thanks to the technology becoming cheaper, more efficient, and able to store greater amounts of power. The US has doubled its renewable energy capacity over the last decade, and much of this growth has come through solar power.
Asia is creating more renewable energy than anywhere else, responsible for 61% of new energy last year. China contributed 20 Gigawatts of energy through wind power alone, 40% of the total wind growth for 2018. China installed three and a half times more renewable energy than the European Union, leading the way for other countries looking to invest in renewables.
The EU is the second highest producer of renewable energy in the world, but it’s level of production stalled in 2018. This is worrying, as the world needs to be creating higher amounts of green energy every year if the world is going to survive the drastic level of climate change that is currently wreaking havoc on our eco-systems.
According to the IEA, renewable capacity has to grow by 300 gigawatts per year until 2030 for the world to have any hope of reaching the Paris Agreement goals, and avoiding a climate disaster. This is worrying, as carbon emissions rose to their highest levels on record last year.
Currently, we’re not creating enough renewable energy infrastructure to be able to generate the amounts of energy we’re going to need.
Renewable energy will continue to grow as it has done over the last two decades, but should be encouraged and enabled by government incentives. This will ensure renewable growth in the private sector, and will make it easier for families to switch their power supply to an entirely renewable system.
This doesn’t just make sense financially – it will make the difference between two very different futures.
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