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Monday, May 27, 2024

Clean energy: The path toward a sustainable future

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The past decade saw a remarkable progress in the development and adoption of renewable energy (RE) worldwide. The affordability, efficiency and reliability of RE technologies led to a global surge in the deployment of these projects.

A recent study conducted by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) revealed that renewable energy accounted for an unprecedented 38 percent of the world’s electricity generation in 2021. This achievement was accompanied by a record-breaking 295 gigawatts (GW) of RE capacity additions in 2022, marking a remarkable 20% increase compared to 2021. The driving forces behind this remarkable growth were the expanding contributions of solar and wind energy.

As RE technologies continue to become more cost-effective, efficient and dependable, the renewable energy sector is witnessing an array of innovative trends and developments that are accelerating the transition towards a sustainable energy future.

RE trends

Floating solar: An increasing number of countries are adopting floating solar panels on bodies of water, such as lakes and reservoirs. This approach not only maximizes land use but also extends the reach of solar energy to regions with limited available land.

Wave and tidal energy: Although wave and tidal energy technologies are still in their early stages, they hold the potential to become significant sources of renewable energy. Multiple commercial-scale projects focused on wave and tidal energy are either in progress or in the planning phases across the globe.

Microgrids: Microgrids, or localized power grids capable of operating independently from the main grid, are gaining popularity. They offer a reliable source of power to remote areas and facilitate the integration of renewable energy into the grid.

Smart energy grids: Smart energy grids utilize digital technologies to enhance the efficiency and reliability of the electricity grid, making it more adaptable to increased renewable energy integration and reduced energy consumption.

Energy storage: The importance of energy storage technologies is on the rise to facilitate the integration of renewable energy into the grid. These technologies encompass various solutions, including batteries, pumped hydro storage and thermal storage.

The growth of renewable energy is set to continue in the years ahead. According to IRENA’s projections, renewable energy capacity is anticipated to double by 2030 and reach 6,000 GW by 2050.

This substantial expansion not only holds the promise of reducing greenhouse gas emissions but also serves as a critical mitigating factor in the battle against climate change. Furthermore, renewable energy plays a pivotal role in decreasing the country’s dependence on fossil fuels, mitigating climate change and opening up new avenues for job creation and economic development.

As these advancements unfold, they signal a brighter, cleaner and more sustainable future, one that will benefit not only our generation, but also of the next. Peter Paul Duran

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