Should we shift to renewable energy?
Team Veye | 16-Sep-2019
Why we need to shift to renewable energy sources. At its heart is the need to reduce energy-related CO2 emissions to limit climate change. Decarbonisation of the energy sector requires urgent action on a global scale, and while a global energy transition is underway, further action is needed to reduce carbon emissions and mitigate the effects of climate change.
A clean energy world will look significantly different than today. Slowing climate change matters not just for our climate but for our economy. U.K. economist Nicholas Stern estimated the potential impacts of climate change to include a long-term 20 percent reduction in world gross domestic product (GDP). To realise its full effect, note that in comparison, the Great Recession saw a GDP decline of only around 4 percent for two years
A great hindrance in shifting to renewable energy, till recently, has been the cost factor in comparison to fossil fuel-based plants which is no longer the case. The cost of electricity from wind is comparatively even lower than that of natural gas generation while cost of electricity from solar is now fully competitive with coal, without subsidies.
Among the other concerns with solar and wind systems is their intermittent nature, whereas fossil fuel plants operate 24 hours a day. But now even that is no longer an issue in the transition to renewable energy sources. A recent analysis compared the unsubsidized cost of commercial solar and wind systems with energy storage systems to that of conventional fossil fuel generation systems. The analysis found that, even with storage, commercial renewable energy systems are cheaper than coal and comparable to natural gas.
The question is not whether we should transition to renewable energy, but whether the transition we must undertake will provide a net economic benefit or cost. As it turns out, the transition to renewable energy is likely to result in a net economic gain for our society. The clean energy transition could save more than it costs. The shift to renewable energy, thus, would make sense in purely economic grounds alone. A shift to renewable energy infrastructure is a win-win for our society.
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