Renewable energy commercialisation
Renewable energy continued its rapid growth in 2015, providing multiple benefits. There was a new record set for installed wind and photovoltaic capacity (64GW and 57GW) and a new high of US$329 billion for global renewables investment. Renewable energy has been more effective in creating jobs than coal or oil in the U.S. Renewable energy technologies are essential contributors to the energy supply portfolio. They contribute to world energy security, reduce dependency on fossil fuels, and some also provide opportunities for mitigating greenhouse gases.
There is strong support for promoting renewable sources such as solar power and wind power. Renewable energy capacity additions in 2020 expanded by more than 45% from 2019. There will be a 90% rise in global wind capacity (green) and a 23% expansion of new solar photovoltaic installations (yellow). Worldwide growth of renewable energy to 2015 is the green line. By the end of 2011, total renewable power capacity worldwide exceeded 1,360 GW, up 8%.
Renewables accounted for almost half of the 208 GW of capacity added globally during 2011. Photovoltaic and concentrated solar power plants may produce most of the world's electricity within 50 years.
Story of Renewable energy commercialisation
Commercialization of renewable energy technologies entails the deployment of three generations of renewable energy technologies spanning more than a century. Biomass, hydroelectricity, geothermal energy, and solar energy are all examples of first-generation technologies that are already mature and economically competitive. Second-generation technologies are commercially viable and are currently being deployed; they include solar heating, photovoltaics, wind energy, solar thermal power plants, and advanced forms of bioenergy. Third-generation technologies, which include advanced biomass gasification, hot-dry-rock geothermal energy, and ocean energy, require continued research and development in order to make significant contributions on a global scale. Renewable energy accounted for approximately half of new nameplate electrical capacity installed in 2012, and costs continue to decline.
Government policy and political leadership contribute to "levelling the playing field" and increasing acceptance of renewable energy technologies. Germany, Denmark, and Spain have been pioneers in implementing innovative policies that have fueled the majority of growth over the last decade. Germany committed to the "Energiewende" transition to a sustainable energy economy in 2014, while Denmark committed to 100% renewable energy by 2050. There are now 144 countries with targets for renewable energy.
Renewable energy continued its meteoric rise in 2015, bringing a slew of benefits. There was a new record for installed wind and photovoltaic capacity (64GW and 57GW, respectively), as well as a new high for global renewables investment of US$329 Billion. A significant benefit of this investment growth is the creation of new jobs. China, Germany, Spain, the United States, Italy, and Brazil were the top investment destinations in recent years. BrightSource Energy, First Solar, Gamesa, GE Energy, Goldwind, Sinovel, Targray, Trina Solar, Vestas, and Yingli are among the renewable energy companies.
Concerns about climate change are also propelling growth in the renewable energy industries. Solar energy generators, according to a 2011 projection by the International Energy Agency (IEA), could generate the majority of the world's electricity within 50 years, significantly reducing harmful greenhouse gas emissions.
Renewable energy has been more effective at creating jobs in the United States than coal or oil.
Global public support for renewable energy sources, according to an Ipsos survey (2011).
Justification for renewable energy sources
Climate change, pollution, and energy insecurity are all serious issues, and resolving them will require significant changes to energy infrastructures. Renewable energy technologies are critical components of the energy supply portfolio because they help ensure global energy security, reduce reliance on fossil fuels, and some even offer opportunities for greenhouse gas mitigation. Fossil fuels are being phased out in favour of clean, climate-stabilizing, non-depletable energy sources.
...the transition away from coal, oil, and gas toward renewable energy sources such as wind, solar, and geothermal is well underway. Energy was previously generated through the combustion of something — oil, coal, or natural gas — resulting in the carbon emissions that have come to define our economy. The new energy economy harnesses wind energy, solar energy, and heat from within the earth.
International public opinion polls indicate widespread support for a range of approaches to the energy supply problem. These methods include encouraging the development and use of renewable energy sources such as solar and wind, requiring utilities to use more renewable energy, and providing tax incentives to encourage the development and use of such technologies. Renewable energy investments are expected to pay off economically in the long run.
EU member states have demonstrated their support for ambitious renewable energy targets. Eurobarometer surveyed the EU's twenty-seven member states in 2010 about the target of "doubling the share of renewable energy in the EU by 2020." The majority of people in all twenty-seven countries either approved of the target or urged its expansion. Across the EU, 57% believed the proposed goal was "about right," while 16% believed it was "too modest." In comparison, 19% stated that it was "overambitious."
As of 2011, new evidence has emerged that traditional energy sources pose significant risks and that significant changes to the mix of energy technologies are required:
Numerous mining disasters around the world have highlighted the human cost of the coal supply chain. The EPA's new initiatives on air toxics, coal ash, and effluent discharges highlight coal's environmental impacts and the high cost of mitigating them through control technologies. Fracking is under fire as a method of natural gas exploration, with evidence of groundwater contamination and greenhouse gas emissions. Concerns about the massive amounts of water consumed by coal-fired and nuclear power plants are growing, particularly in regions of the country experiencing water scarcity. The events at the Fukushima nuclear power plant have reignited concerns about the long-term viability of operating a large number of nuclear power plants safely. Additionally, cost estimates for "next generation" nuclear power plants continue to rise, and lenders are unwilling to finance them without taxpayer guarantees.
Renewable energies, according to the 2014 REN21 Global Status Report, are no longer just energy sources, but also means of addressing pressing social, political, economic, and environmental problems:
Renewables are now viewed as tools for addressing a variety of other pressing needs, including enhancing energy security; mitigating the health and environmental impacts of fossil and nuclear energy; reducing greenhouse gas emissions; expanding educational opportunities; creating jobs; reducing poverty; and increasing gender equality... Renewable energy has established a foothold in the mainstream.
Renewable energy growth
Renewable energy capacity additions increased by more than 45% in 2020 compared to 2019, led by a 90% increase in global wind capacity (green) and a 23% increase in new solar photovoltaic installations (yellow).
When global energy consumption trends are compared, the green line represents the growth of renewable energy to 2015.
The countries most reliant on fossil fuels for electricity have a wide range of renewable energy penetration, implying a wide range in renewables' growth potential.
In 2008, both the European Union and the United States added more renewable energy capacity than conventional power capacity, demonstrating a "fundamental transition" of the world's energy markets toward renewables, according to a report released by REN21, a global renewable energy policy network based in Paris. Renewable energy accounted for roughly a third of newly constructed power generation capacity in 2010.
By the end of 2011, global renewable energy capacity had surpassed 1,360 GW, an increase of 8%. Renewable energy sources generated nearly half of the 208 GW of capacity added globally in 2011. Wind and solar photovoltaic (PV) generation accounted for nearly 40% and 30%, respectively. Renewables contributed 19% to our energy consumption and 22% to our electricity generation in 2012 and 2013, according to REN21's 2014 report. 9 percent of this energy consumption is derived from traditional biomass, 4.2 percent from non-biomass heat energy, 3.8 percent from hydroelectricity, and 2% from wind, solar, geothermal, and biomass energy.
Between the end of 2004 and the end of 2009, global renewable energy capacity grew at annual rates of 10–60 percent for several technologies, while actual production grew at a rate of 1.2 percent. UN Under-Secretary-General Achim Steiner stated in 2011: "The continued growth of this critical sector of the green economy is not coincidental. The combination of government targets, policy support, and stimulus funding is accelerating the growth of the renewable energy industry and bringing the much-needed transformation of our global energy system closer to reality." He continued: "Renewable energies are growing in terms of investment, project development, and geographic reach. They are thus contributing significantly to the fight against climate change, energy poverty, and energy insecurity "'.
According to a 2011 International Energy Agency projection, solar power plants could generate the majority of the world's electricity within 50 years, significantly reducing greenhouse gas emissions that harm the environment. According to the IEA, "photovoltaic and solar-thermal plants could meet the majority of the world's electricity demand – and half of all energy needs – by 2060, with wind, hydropower, and biomass plants providing the majority of the remaining generation." "When photovoltaic and concentrated solar energy are combined, they have the potential to become the primary source of electricity."