What Is The Importance Of Renewable Energy?
Renewable energies are clean, inexhaustible and increasingly competitive sources of energy. They differ from fossil fuels mainly in their diversity, abundance and potential for use in any part of the planet, but especially in that they do not produce greenhouse gases -causing climate change- nor polluting emissions. In addition, its costs are steadily declining, while the general trend of fossil fuel costs is the opposite, regardless of its conjunctural volatility.
The growth of clean energies is unstoppable, as reflected in the statistics provided by the International Energy Agency (IEA) in 2015: they represent nearly half of the new electricity generation capacity installed in 2014, since they have been constituted in the second global source of electricity, second only to coal.
According to the IEA, global electricity demand will increase by 70% until 2040, – raising its share of final energy use from 18% to 24% in the same period – spurred mainly by emerging regions (India, China, Africa , Middle East and Southeast Asia).
The development of clean energies is essential to combat climate change and limit its most devastating effects. 2014 was the warmest year since records exist. The Earth has undergone a warming of 0.85 ° C on average since the late nineteenth century, says National Geographic in its special issue of Climate Change of November 2015.
In parallel, some 1,100 million inhabitants, 17% of the world population, do not have access to electricity. Similarly, 2.7 billion people – 38% of the global population – use traditional biomass to cook, heat or light their homes with serious risk to their health.
Therefore, one of the objectives set by the United Nations is to achieve universal access to electricity in 2030, an ambitious goal if one considers that, according to the IEA estimates, there will still be 800 million people without access to supply at that time. electrical, to follow the current trend.
Renewable energies have received significant support from the international community with the ‘Paris Agreement’ signed at the World Climate Summit held in December 2015 in the French capital.
The agreement, which will enter into force in 2020, establishes for the first time in history a binding global objective, by which the almost 200 signatory countries commit themselves to reduce their emissions so that the average temperature of the planet at the end of this century is “Well below” the two degrees, -the limit above which climate change has more catastrophic effects- and even to try to leave it at 1.5 degrees.
The transition to an energy system based on renewable technologies will also have very positive economic effects. According to IRENA (International Renewable Energy Agency), doubling the share of renewable energy in the global energy mix to reach 36% in 2030 would imply an additional global growth of 1.1% that year (equivalent to 1.3 billion euros). dollars), an increase in welfare of 3.7% and an increase in employment in the sector to more than 24 million people, compared to the current 9.2 million.
WHAT TYPES OF RENEWABLE ENERGIES EXIST?
Between the renewable energies or also called clean energies we find:
Wind energy: the energy that is obtained from the wind
Solar energy: the energy that is obtained from the sun. The main technologies are solar photovoltaic (uses sunlight) and solar thermal (uses the heat of the sun)
Hydropower or hydroelectric power: the energy obtained from rivers and freshwater streams
Biomass and biogas: the energy extracted from organic matter
Geothermal energy: the heat energy contained inside the Earth
Tidal energy: the energy that is obtained from the tides
Wave energy or wave energy: the energy obtained from waves
Bioethanol: organic fuel suitable for the automotive industry that is achieved through fermentation processes of vegetable products
Biodiesel: organic fuel for automotive, among other applications, which is obtained from vegetable oils
MAIN ADVANTAGES OF RENEWABLE ENERGIES:
They are the essential partner against climate change: renewables do not emit greenhouse gases in energy generation processes, which reveals them as the cleanest and most viable solution to environmental degradation.
They are inexhaustible: unlike traditional sources of energy such as coal, gas, oil or nuclear energy, whose reserves are finite, clean energies have the same availability as the sun where they originate and adapt to the natural cycles (that’s why we call them renewable). Therefore, they are an essential element of a sustainable energy system that allows present development without jeopardizing that of future generations.
Reduce energy dependence: the indigenous nature of clean sources implies a differential advantage for local economies and an incentive for energy independence. The need to import fossil fuels produces a subordination to the economic and political situation of the supplier country that can compromise the security of the energy supply. In any part of the planet there is some type of renewable resource – wind, sun, water, organic matter – that can be used to produce energy in a sustainable way.
Increasingly competitive: The main renewable technologies – such as wind and photovoltaic solar – are drastically reducing their costs, so that they are already fully competitive with conventional ones in a growing number of sites. Economies of scale and innovation are already getting renewable energy to become the most sustainable solution, not only environmentally but also economically, to move the world.
Favorable political horizon: the decisions agreed at COP21 have brought a torrent of light to the future of renewable energies. The international community has understood the obligation to strengthen the transition towards a low carbon economy for the sustainable future of the planet. The climate of international consensus in favor of the decarbonisation of the economy constitutes a very favorable framework for the promotion of clean energy technologies.