Solar, wind, hydroelectric, geothermal, and biomass. These are the five titans who hold the pillars of renewable energy that have a positive impact on the health of our planet, the status of our population, and the future of our world. And yet, there are still worries regarding the initial impact of adapting to renewable energy that stalls its acceptance. There are issues regarding its reliability, difficulty of installation, and the fact that it would require high initial investments.
However, the advantages and eventual benefits outweigh the costs and the early impact that the change could cause. The shortcomings of switching to renewable energy can and will be fixed with time and money, aided by the rapid advancement in technology. Nearly every year, new systems are being put in place and wheels are set in motion that will spark further innovation in the field. The drawbacks are short-term while the benefits will be felt for a long time, and future generations will fully reap them.
We may not yet be ready to make the full switch, but it’s imperative to achieve the perfect balance between renewable energy and that collected from other sources. For the future, it’s not only a matter of survivability, but also one of thriving with the help of green, clean, and self-sustaining resources for the world’s ever-growing population.
Advantages of Switching to Renewable Energy
- Sustainability. We will never run out of vital sources such as the sun’s rays, strong winds, flowing water, and heat from the earth. On the other hand, coal, oil, and gas are limited sources that will ultimately be run out.
- Beneficial for the environment. The use of renewable energy has little to no greenhouse gas emissions and no imprint of carbon emission on our atmosphere. It will drastically reduce the amount of carbon dioxide (CO2) damaging the protective layers and will dramatically lower toxic pollution causing diseases to the world’s population.
- Set and clear energy prices. Renewable energy is dependent on the number of investments and heavily relies on what nature can provide us. It suggests that governments will no longer needlessly inflate or deflate prices necessary for acquiring sustainable energy.
- Stability. Due to the uneven distribution of resources, nations are prone to trade conflicts, political disputes, and even war for the sake of resources. Since renewable energy is mostly world-round spread, it will remove one reason that could cause issues between two or more governments.
- Thriving economy. Unlike coal, gas, and oil, which suffer from a fluctuation in prices, renewable energy is cheaper and economically sound.
The economic impact has been one of the major concerns that have had several nations turn away from the possibility of taking the step forward to a better, greener, and the more stable option of gathering energy. However, the Paris climate change conference held at the end of 2015 (COP21) has placed renewable energy in the center of attention, by boasting its benefits and encouraging its implementation.
Investments are expected to grow, which has significant implications for the worldwide population regarding economic change. International cooperation will boost the effort beyond what has been noted so far. Initial estimations observed by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) state that by the end of 2015, the global investments were higher by around $280 billion. The benefits could gradually grow as the funding becomes more exponential.
Should investments continue to grow by at least 36%, the global gross domestic product (GDP) will increase by 1.1%, which amounts to $1.3 trillion.
Increased Employment Opportunities
Among environmental significance, switching to renewable energy will have a positive impact on the economy by providing numerous employment opportunities to the general population and local communities. The benefits will travel far beyond economic stability and lack of conflict for international governments. It will arrive with endless possibilities and advantages for the population.
Renewable energy will create more jobs opportunities that will jump from the current 9.2 million to over 24 million by the end of 2030. It’s due to the fact that the field is labor-intensive, which means that it will require more employees than fossil fuel energy sources industries. The increase has already been observed in countries such as the United States, where the renewable energy field has exponentially grown within the past couple of years.
From 2009 to 2011, renewable energy has already supported thousands of new jobs in development, manufacturing, construction, installation, and sales:
- Hydroelectric energy: employed around 250,000 more people.
- Solar energy: employed approximately 100,000 more people.
- Wind energy: employed 75,000 more people and established over 500 factories.
- Geothermal energy: employed approximately 5,200 more people.
With the sustainability of investments and development, the number of employees will continue to increase, and innovation in technology could create an additional 202,000 new jobs by 2025.
The Economic Ripple of Renewable Energy
Governments and local businesses will vastly benefit from the deployment of more renewable energy services and the further development of the industry. They will have new opportunities to collect more taxes from owners of renewable energy projects, such as wind turbines. For examples, land proprietors can gain between $3,000 to $6,000 per megawatt of electrical capacity if the wind turbines are installed on their land.
The additional taxes could be used to supply public services that are in great need of funding, which is especially important in the case of rural communities. Their lands might be overtaken by several projects that sustain renewable energy, and they will be able to be financially compensated or could request royalties depending on the project’s annual revenue. Even farmland owners could profit by producing feedstock for certain biomass power facilities.
By 2025, the national renewable energy industry in the United States alone could generate over $263 billion in capital investments for innovative technologies, $13.5 billion for farmers involved in biomass production or wind energy, and $11.5 billion in taxes. The potential is available worldwide, though, with the advancements made in Europe, and Germany in particular, it’s expected that the numbers could be higher.
The development of more projects could have a massive implication for nations still engulfed in poverty, such as Africa. Miguel Arias Cañete from the European Union Commissioner for Climate Action and Energy (EU CCAC) stated that the initiative to create clean energy will a positive impact on the African nation where 600 million people still do not have access to electricity. It could propel them out of poverty and improve their daily lives with necessities that are basic in well-developed countries.
The investments in renewable energy have thankfully surged in nations such as the United States, Latin America, Europe, China, and India, reaching a new record of over $328 billion in 2015. However, it could continually grow within the next few decades and it certainly should due to benefits. The deployment of renewable energy will both help reach socio-economic goals that might otherwise be unobtainable, and it will provide exceptional aid to the fight against climate change.
It’s a win-win.