The quick adoption of renewable energy is crucial for the future of our planet. Emissions must be reduced by around 50% by 2030, and net-zero should be achieved by 2050 to avoid the worst impacts of climate change.
The adoption of clean energy, and reduction in fossil fuels, is one of the most important transitions needed to meet the goals. Fossil fuels, including coal and gas, are the largest contributors to climate change, producing over 75% of all greenhouse gas emissions.
Renewable energy will allow us to take a step away from fossil fuels and utilise the natural resources we have at our disposal. The sun, wind, and water can all provide power without the greenhouse gases.
So, what can we expect from the future of renewable energy?
Renewable energy is much cheaper than power generated from fossil fuels. Recent global events, such as the war in Ukraine, have highlighted the need to transfer to local energy generation. Not only will this remove the reliance on fossil fuel heavy nations, but it will also ensure a constant stream of clean energy, avoiding inflated prices in the market.
In the past decade the cost of solar power fell by 85% and wind (offshore and onshore) fell by around 50%. This trend is expected to continue as renewable energy is adopted across the globe and suitable infrastructure is implemented.
Reduced impacts from Climate Change
The Paris Agreement limits the global temperature warming to +2°C, ideally +1.5 °C, compared to pre-industrial levels. We’ve already surpassed +1 °C and we’re beginning to see the impacts of climate change across the globe. Experts believe that limiting the temperature to +1.5 °C will help us avoid the most detrimental results of global warming. Clean energy will play a massive role in this change. Energy from renewable sources could provide around 65% of the world’s total energy supply by 2030. With consistent progress, it could decarbonise 90% of the power sector by 2050.
Economic and social benefits
As mentioned above, renewable power is cheaper than fossil fuels. But the financial gains go further. Fossil fuels have previously been hugely subsidised, costing governments across the globe billions. While there is an initial investment needed in order to create a strong infrastructure for clean power production, the long-term reduction of pollution and climate impacts are expected to surpass the original investment costs.
On top of the financial benefits, there are positive impacts for people across the world too. Firstly, renewable energy provides a healthier environment. The World Health Organization (WHO) believe that around 99% of people in the world are breathing air that exceeds air quality limits, threatening health. Switching to clean energy will massively improve the quality of air and reduce the underlying costs associated with pollution related health concerns.
Finally, there will be a huge requirement of workers to oversee the infrastructure development. While there are many millions of jobs supported by the fossil fuel industry, it is expected that there will be almost three times more jobs created in the clean energy space – a net gain of around 9 million new roles.