Monday, October 17, 2016

Renewable energy for years to come

In 2015, Sweden came up with an ambitious goal to go 100% fossil free.

Earth is warming and we need to avoid it getting worse.  The primary reason causing warming is the manmade release of CO2 from the fossil fuel use. Since industrialization, energy has been predominant in all our uses. It is unimaginable for a world without electricity, petrol and diesel. Hence it’s imperative to find alternative forms of energy that meets our demand without altering the climate. And this is  possible only with renewable energy (RE) sources.

It is possible to meet the entire world’s energy demands with renewable energy; Its only a matter of time and political will. There are many myths associated with renewable energy. First and foremost is the perception that renewable energy is expensive. In recent years, the cost of solar and wind energy has declined substantially and in few years time, it will be cheaper than fossil fuels. Deutsche bank estimates show that the economics of solar has improved significantly due to reduction in solar panel costs, financing costs and balance of system costs with overall 15% CAGR cost reduction over the past 8 years and expects another 40% cost reduction over the next 4-5 years.

The second common myth is that the renewable energy is not reliable and cannot provide 24*7 supply. This is absolutely false. RE Technology has improved so much that it is completely reliable, safe and can meet all our energy demands. The transition from coal to renewable is possible in few years time.

India’s RE future

Wind mill
India is the 3rd largest energy consumer in the world and much of it is from fossil fuels. In order to effectively combat climate change, India needs to do its due share. It has already committed to increase the share of renewable energy in the total energy to 40%. The main focus is on solar and wind energy. The commitment to increase solar power from 30 GW to 175 GW by 2022 is a huge opportunity for energy deficit India for rural electrification.
Solar panels
Image Source:

As economist Jeremy Rifkin said, while speaking in New Delhi in  2012: “India is the Saudi Arabia of renewable energy sources and, if properly utilized, India can realize its place in the world as a great power — but political will is required for the eventual shift from fossil fuels to renewable energy.”

To secure its energy future, India needs to increase energy efficiency, promote renewable energy, increase decentralized energy system and bring in strong policies. With these in place,  the transition to 100% renewable energy is both possible and affordable.

Countries  around the globe is increasing investment in renewable energy. Many developed countries like Germany, Denmark already has high share of renewable energy. It is very important that developed countries must help developing countries with technology and money to support their energy demands. Only then the entire world can combat climate change together and let coal remain grounded.

Anu Kuncheria