How does renewable energy work?
Renewable energy, also referred to as clean energy, comes from natural sources or processes that are constantly replaced. Clean energy works by generating power without having negative environmental impacts, such as the release of greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide. Renewable energy has long been used for transportation, heating, lighting, and much more.
Types of renewable energy
There are numerous renewable energy sources, including:
- Solar energy
- Wind energy
- Hydroelectric power
- Biomass energy
- Geothermal energy
Could the world be powered by renewable energy?
If the world shifts away from fossil fuels completely, could enough energy be generated to power the world on 100% renewable energy?
According to a report by LUT University in Finland, the answer is yes. The study concluded that a global transition to 100% renewable energy by 2050 across all sectors. The study also highlighted that a sustainable energy system is more efficient and cost effective that the current energy system.
The world’s population is expected to increase to 9.7 billion in 2050, and total energy demand is predicated to grow by almost 2% annually to keep up with a higher standard of living. In order to match this growth, the study divided the world into nine major regions and 145 sub-regions. Energy use in these regions and sub-regions were measured hourly within five-year intervals from 2015 until 2050.
Almost all of the energy supply will be produced using a mix of existing and locally available renewable energy sources; the report emphasises that decentralisation of energy production will be vital to increased efficiency. Moreover, the report indicates that replacing carbon-intensive energy options in the power and heat sectors is possible by 2030, while the transport sector decarbonises between 2030 and 2050.
The report claims that while energy supply in the fully renewable energy system will be covered by a mix of sources, solar and wind energy will lead the transition. Together, they will make up 88% of the total energy supply.
Why is it important?
Clean energy is hugely important for environmental reasons. Renewable resources preserve the world’s natural resources, while also reducing the risk of environmental disasters, such as fuel spills or the problems associated with natural gas leaks.
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