Why societies require renewable energy
Energy generated as renewable is provided in four critical areas. ...
By Brian K Katabazi
Renewable energy is the form of energy which is generated from naturally replenished on human time scale including waves, rain, wind, tides, geothermal heat and sun light.
Energy generated as renewable is provided in four critical areas: air, water heating/cooling, electricity generation, transportation and off grid energy services.
New electricity that was installed as of 2015 globally was renewable and investments in renewable technologies amounted to over $286b. The 2016 REN21'S report indicated that renewables contributed 19.2% to humans' global energy consumption with 23.7% to the generation of electricity in 2014 and 2015 respectively. 3.9% was hydroelectricity , 8.9% biomass, 4.2% as modern bio mass, geothermal and solar heat and 2.2% is electricity from win, geothermal, biomass and solar. Strong opinion surveys also indicated robust backing for stimulating renewable homes such as solar and wind power.
Countries and societies across the world are on the margin of reflective transformation in the way they use and generate energy. This arrangement is taking the world from archaic ways of consuming fossils to renewable and cleaner energy. Masses of people globally are already using renewable technologies to generate energy, produce heat, electricity and cook. The world energy market and prices have become competitive with final energy demand growing to about 19% in 2014. 20% of energy supply has already been generated by close to 30 countries worldwide at national level.
With such, markets for renewable energy at national level are anticipated to grow in the following decade and beyond. Countries like Norway and Iceland are already producing all their power by renewable energy and quite a good number of countries have already set a goal of reaching 100% in future with the latest being Denmark which decided to switch to 100% renewable energy by 2050.
As the emerging economy in the world, China is doing exemplary development in renewable energy growing by 25% against 7-9% growth in power demand in 2004 with wind energy growing at 35%. With such developments in the renewable energy sector, close to 7.7 million jobs are believed to be associated with renewable energy industries and solar power as the largest renewable employer.
This is a clear indication of how renewable technologies are working as solutions to unemployment in societies and countries that have embraced, invested and promoted renewable energy. Societies and countries depending on fossils build a centralised system that excludes security, diversity and people's participation hence threatening people's health which puts the stability of the world's climate at risk and denies forthcoming generations of clean water, air and energy independence.
In a decentralised form of renewable energy production, communities and specifically citizens are availed with an opportunity of not only consumption but also generation of their own energy. In the two frontrunner countries, Germany and Denmark, a very large number of energy cooperatives and individuals are driving transformation within the sector by taking collective ownership of the renewable energy infrastructure.
In fact, the majority of the owners of the installed renewable power capacity in these countries are private individuals (Morris and Pehnt 2014). For countries to strengthen their societies/communities, they must put in place plans to turn to 100% renewable which will ensure sustainable services for citizens hence resulting in major climate change mitigation, energy security measures and economic benefits.
Through paving ways towards cleaner and 100% renewable energy powered future, nations will attain environmentally accountable and sustainable economies and societies.
The writer is an Associate Director of the Centre for Energy Governance.