The combustion of fossil fuels for energy produces greenhouse gas emissions. Furthermore, fossil fuels are responsible for a significant quantity of local air pollution, which is a public health issue that leads to early death. To reduce CO2 emissions and local air pollution, the world must rapidly transition to low carbon energy sources, such as nuclear and renewable.
Renewable energy, often known as clean energy, is derived from natural sources or processes that are renewed on a regular basis. Sunlight and wind, for example, continue to shine and blow despite the fact that their availability is dependent on time and weather. Solar energy, wind energy, hydroelectric power, biomass energy, and geothermal energy are counted as renewable energy sources.
Clean energy is defined as energy derived from renewable, zero-emission sources that do not pollute the environment when utilized, as well as energy conserved through energy efficiency techniques. Renewable energy plays a critical role in decarburizing our energy systems. Solar and wind power together accounted for barely 1.7 percent of worldwide electricity generation in 2010. By the end of last year, it had risen to 8.7%.
Global renewable energy installed capacity is predicted to reach 4,391.18 GW by 2026, growing at a CAGR (compound annual growth rate) of 7.13 percent between 2021 and 2026, from 2,713.60 GW in 2019. These models frequently presume that solar and wind power will expand in a linear fashion, but in reality, growth has been exponential.
The catalyst for renewable energy growth
The following factors supported the growth of the renewable energy sector.
The most important driver in the growth of renewable energy has been lower costs. Solar photovoltaic electricity costs have dropped by 85% since 2010, and the costs of onshore and offshore wind generation have been slashed in half. Both of these renewable energy sources are cheaper than fossil-fuel electricity. Because of positive feedback loops, costs have dropped considerably.
Other aspect of the adoption of renewable energy is self-reinforcing. As renewable gain in popularity, political clout, and financial backing, it becomes easier to enlist additional policy and financial support.
Support from policymakers has also been critical to the rise of renewable energy. Renewable energy tax credits and subsidies, as well as feed-in tariffs and competitive auctions, have all aided in lowering costs and accelerating adoption. In addition, government funding in research and development has been critical in supporting renewable energy innovation.
Despite the Covid-19 outbreak and growing raw material costs around the world, renewable energy had another record year, according to the International Energy Agency (IEA). This year, almost 290GW of new renewable energy generation capacity was installed around the world, largely in the shape of wind turbines and solar panels, breaking the previous record set last year. By 2026, renewable energy generating capacity will surpass that of fossil fuels and nuclear energy combined, based on current trends.
The article gives an overview of the renewable energy sector. China, the United States and India are the largest carbon emitter in the world. These countries are now focusing on renewable energy production.