Renewables and the Rise of Clean Energy — How Economic Necessity and Climate Change are Increasing Demand

By Rick McElhinney

In the past 10 years, we have seen the conversation around climate change grow from the margins to the mainstream. Governments, corporates, NGOs, and individuals are embracing the scientific evidence around climate change and looking for solutions on an individual and collective level, with the conversation expanding from solar, to wind power, to pumped hydro’s possibilities. The UN’s COP27, robust scientific data, incentives for renewables and people power are driving the demand for sustainable, decarbonised power to fuel homes, suburbs, cities, and countries around the world.

The Smart Money is with Carbon Free Energy

Economic impacts are also driving interest and demand in renewable energy. Rising gas and oil prices, coupled with record profits by major oil suppliers, are making fossil fuels less attractive to consumers, producers, businesses, and the public sector. From the production side, renewables are becoming far more cost effective, thanks to increased economies of scale. From homeowners installing rooftop solar panels to governments greenlighting large-scale wind farms and pumped hydro projects, renewables are coming into their own due to their cost effectiveness over time.

The Bots Are Coming — Even to the Energy Sector

Artificial intelligence (AI) continues to march out across industry, disrupting old ways of doing things, and the energy sector is not immune from this trend. AI will hasten the global energy transition, from demand-side flexibility to the efficient and effective optimisation and integration of variable renewable energy sources into the power grid. We need to see increasing collaboration between stakeholders across ecosystems if we are to expedite the deployment of AI and usher in a cleaner, more dependable, and less expensive energy future.

Hybrids Providing the Solution

As innovation in renewable energy technology reaches even more sophisticated levels, there will be a gradual shift towards adopting hybrid systems to power our homes. Hybrids like hydro-electric systems and pumped hydro are cost effective and highly efficient in delivering 24/7 carbon free energy1 to homes and communities when the sun doesn’t shine, and the wind doesn’t blow. And the ability to scale and replicate these technologies in a variety of applications will increase their desirability within markets.

According to Renewables 2019, a report from the International Energy Agency, almost 33 per cent of the world’s electricity is anticipated to come from renewable sources by 2024, with solar photovoltaic (PV) accounting for nearly 60 per cent (or at least 697 gigawatts) of the anticipated growth. Hydropower (121 GW), wind farms (309 GW) and biofuels (43 GW) are slated to also feature prominently.

In short, the rise of renewable energy is inevitable, spurred on by drastically falling production costs, rising concerns about climate change, changing global energy policies and increased investor pressure on businesses to implement environmental, social, and governance (ESG) initiatives. Combining these factors should make 2023 the year for more game-changing innovations, policies, and, importantly, progressive action for the global clean energy industry.

1 24/7 Carbon-Free Energy means that every kilowatt-hour of electricity consumption is met with carbon-free electricity sources at every hour of every day, everywhere.

About Rick McElhinney:
Rick is an experienced entrepreneur, angel investor, recognized author, and speaker. His experience and interest in engineering and renewable energy provide background to his key skills in bringing start-ups to fruition through his business investment, financial management, and mentoring. Rick was a shareholder and CFO in a renewables energy company, which grew from start-up to in excess of $100m in revenues prior to its sale.

by Editor

Wednesday, March 29th, 2023 at 16:23
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