World Powered by Renewable Energy Is Possible
Experts agree that renewable energy industry continue to make great progress and that the rate of adoption is accelerating. Since the 1930’s many have questioned if the entire world could be powered by renewable energy sources. In 2012, renewable sources provided around 13.2% of the total primary energy demand globally. IEA’s (International Energy Agency) Med-Term Renewable Energy Report from 2015 forecasts that the world will produce and use around 26% of the total primary energy demand by 2020.
Global renewable energy sector employed 9.8 million people in 2016 – which is a 1.1% increase over 2015. Employment increased by 2.8% to reaching 8.3 million in 2016 for non-hydro power sector. China, Brazil, the United States, India, Japan and Germany accounted for most of the renewable energy jobs. The shift to Asia continued, with 62% of the global total located in the continent. Solar and wind power recorded the strongest employment gains, 12 percent and 7 percent respectively.
Roadmap For The New World
A new world powered by renewable energy is very much feasible. Experts have developed a roadmap that shows how over 140 countries could transition to utilizing 100 percent renewable energy such as solar, wind, hydro and geothermal by 2050.
Let’s review some of the benefits the new world could offer to its citizens:
- Reduction or reversal of climate change. 1.5 degree rise in global temperatures could be avoided
- Reduced pollution, deaths due to air pollution could reduce by up to 7 million, experts predict. This could result in savings of over $ 50 trillion per year
- By 2050 the renewable energy industry could employ up to 24 million globally
Recently experts and scientists have developed a roadmap for all major countries to transition from conventional energy sources to renewable energy sources. There is agreement among them that the entire world can transition to this state by 2050.
A world supported fully by renewable energy is feasible due to the fact that the world will need 42 percent less energy because the higher efficiency of sustainable energy sources.
Team of experts from around the world reviewed energy utilization data from IEA, available publicly for over 139 countries which account for more than 99 percent of the global greenhouse gas emissions. Experts reviewed the current level of renewable energy proliferation for each country and transition of major energy consumption sectors to renewable sources. Experts reviewed electrification of transportation (land, sea and air), climate control (industrial and residential), agricultural infrastructure and equipment, forestry and fishing for all countries.
European countries continue to lead the world when it comes to transition to renewable energy resources. Developing countries like China are projected to catch up the developed countries due to massive investments in the development of sustainable energy sources.
Experts believe that the 139 countries could support up to 80 percent of their power demand through renewable energy sourced by 2030 and reach 100 percent by 2050.
Video courtesy of cellvideoabstracts. Video features Mark Z Jackobson.
The roadmap also provides into the projected mix of renewable energy generation technologies that will power the new world. Experts agree that solar solutions will power more than 50 percent of the global energy demand in 2050, followed by Wind power contributing 37 percent. Report also provides additional details about the renewable energy applications within the identified technologies.
Solar Power will continue to lead all other technologies due to cost and ease of proliferated through 2050. Report breaks down the solar applications:
- Solar Power Plants (Land and Floating) – 21 percent
- Solar Residential Rooftops – 15 percent
- Solar Commercial or Industrial Rooftops – 12 percent
- Solar Thermal Plants – 9 percent
Wind power is also projected to contribute significantly to the global energy demand in 2050. Growth is expected for Onshore and Offshore applications.
- Wind Onshore – 23 percent
- Wind Offshore – 14 percent
Report also reviews whether all countries have sufficient resources in the form of sun light, wind speeds, water reservoirs, and others. Experts conclude that all of the countries reviewed have the necessary resources to transition to renewable energy. The predominant technology utilized by each country will depend on the resource availability.
Scientists also reviewed geographical constraints and enablers that would either present headwinds or accelerate the country’s ability to transition to use of 100 percent renewable energy. Countries with expansive land mass are projected to have easier time transitioning to 100 percent renewable energy. Countries like USA, China and European Union can leverage most of the renewable energy options such as solar, wind, hydro and geothermal energy generation.
Countries with high population density will find it challenging to transition to 100 percent renewable energy as these country’s may not be able to leverage the most efficient sustainable energy generation options.
How Much Will It Cost
Unfortunately the report does not provide any insights in to the total cost incurred by the countries to transition from fossil fuel energy sources to renewable energy sources. Experts say that rapidly falling prices and advancements in technologies makes these projections challenging. One must consider the social and economic benefits transition to 100 percent renewable energy offers when assessing the viability of investments in our future.
Let’s build a better world !
The author, KetanDeshpande, lives in Minnesota and writes about a variety of topics in his blog such as global economy, market and industry trends, successful strategies for businesses, and others. Leveraging his global strategic leadership experience from the manufacturing industry to offer insights in to how businesses can meet the sustainable growth and profitability goals.
Ketan Deshpande is also passionate about sustainability and renewable energy; he curates and shares latest updates in his blog posts. Recently the Southern Minnesota Municipal Power Agency(SMMPA) of Litchfield, Minnesota, endorsed Ketan Deshpande for an energy conservation project.
This blog also features memorable events, travel experiences and his favorite places to visit in the great state of Minnesota.