As the world has begun to recognize the very real effects of global warming and climate change, the human population has started to take action. To end the dangerous overheating of the planet, we must stop putting more greenhouse gases into the air than we take out. Currently, over one-hundred countries (including the United States, Argentina, Austria, Brazil, Canada, and Costa Rica) have joined the Climate Ambition Alliance, aiming for net-zero emissions by 2050. Along with driving electric vehicles, reducing landfill waste, and reducing emissions on the wider spectrum, renewable energy is an important factor for our carbon-free future.
One of the most significant changes we have seen in recent years is the expansion of renewable energy sources.
Renewable energy has been a flourishing topic, and with good reason, being a top priority for many governments. Renewable energy becomes increasingly more eminent as energy concerns continue to be a red flag concerning emissions reductions. As a clean source of energy, renewable energy stems from various natural sources including wind, solar, water, with specific examples including hydropower, biomass (biofuel), waves (tidal), and the heat from the Earth (geothermal). As the name implies, renewable energy sources can be replenished to produce the needed energy.
Despite all of the discussion surrounding renewable energy, there are many misconceptions about the industry and what it means for the future of the Earth. Renewable energy is praised for being “better for the environment,” but how exactly does that affect us, and how has it grown in recent years?
Not many people are aware of the complete benefits of renewable energy, so we’ve put together a list of renewable energy facts. Here’s what they don’t tell you about renewable energy:
1. Renewable Energy Technology Isn’t a New Technology
While there is inarguably a lot of new technology for the renewable energy market, it’s not a new invention. People have been leveraging Earth’s natural sources for thousands of years for many different tasks. For example, using windmills to pump water and grind grain, and utilizing geothermal energy to heat their houses are common energy sources dated back hundreds of years. Albeit not a newfound technology, the constant improvements and developments made in renewable energy prove useful in providing a cleaner environment and reducing greenhouse gasses.
2. The Amount of Renewable Energy We Are Harnessing
In 2018, renewable energy comprised around 26.2 percent of global electricity generation. Many people are unaware of the continued growth the renewable energy sector is seeing, with the amount expected to rise to 45 percent by 2040. Experts agree that the majority of this increase will most likely come from solar, wind, and hydropower.
3. The Fastest-Growing Energy Source Is Solar
This year, according to the United States Energy Information Administration’s (EIA) latest inventory of electricity generators, energy developers and power plant owners plan for 39.7 gigawatts (GW) of new electricity generating capacity to start commercial operation in 2021. With this in place, solar will account for the largest share of new capacity at 39 percent, followed by wind at 31 percent.
4. Large Corporations Are Vowing to Go Green
Many major corporations have already implemented strategies that are focused on being 100% reliant on natural energy sources. Some of these include Apple, Walmart, and Google. While there are companies that may contribute negatively to the environment, many corporations are becoming increasingly aware of the dangers they have and the influence they hold on the environment.
5. The Renewable Energy Industry Creates Jobs
There were 2.4 million jobs in clean energy and energy efficiency in 2018, in comparison to half that many in fossil energy. Installers and service technicians for solar and wind are expected to grow 11 to 13 times faster than the U.S. average. With the continued growth of renewable energy, it’s understandable that these job sectors would experience higher demand.
6. Renewable Energy Is More Reliable Than Other Energy Sources
This is one of the most common facts about renewable energy that most people don’t know (or often overlook). The reason for this is because the electricity grid fluctuates by the hour and season, and it must meet real-time demand. Renewable energy (such as wind and hydropower) is often spread out and utilizes several power generation methods, so the supply isn’t coming from a single power source. Additionally, energy storage methods have become increasingly popular for utilizing renewable energy sources so that the grid can store energy on sunny (or windy) days to distribute at a later time.
We hope you learned something of value (and perhaps something you didn’t previously know before) about renewable energy in this post. Learn more about Kiwi Energy and how you can offset electric and natural gas usage with renewable energy certificates (RECs), and carbon offsets. And of course, don’t forget to stay tuned on our blog for more renewable energy facts, news, and more.