حفلة 2024

Embracing renewables: the economic upswing of green energy ‘24

For many years, the world’s economy has been driven by fossil fuels such as coal, oil, and natural gas; however, a shift in this story is taking place.

The urgency of climate change and the finite nature of fossil fuels are propelling a historic shift towards renewable energy sources like solar, wind, and geothermal. This transition is not only environmentally crucial; it’s also emerging as a significant economic catalyst.

The economic edge of green energy:

Renewable energy is swiftly becoming economically competitive with conventional sources. As per the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), the cost of solar and wind power has seen a dramatic drop of over 80 per cent in the past decade. This reduction, along with advancements in energy storage technologies, is making renewable energy an economically viable choice for businesses and consumers alike.

Surge in green jobs

The transition towards renewable energy is creating a multitude of new employment opportunities. According to a 2023 report by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), the global renewable energy sector saw an increase in employment, with the number of people employed rising to 13.7 million in 2022, up from 12.7 million in 2021.

These jobs cover a range of sectors, including renewable energy installation and maintenance, energy efficiency upgrades, and the manufacturing of clean technologies.

Economic titans: the emergence of green champions;

Several countries are reaping the economic benefits of adopting renewable energy. Here are some notable examples:

Denmark

Denmark has been a trailblazer in decarbonisation, setting a global example. The country’s energy system has undergone a swift and noticeable transformation, particularly in electricity production with offshore wind, biomethane, district heating, and carbon capture and storage (CCS) development.

Denmark has the highest share of wind power (54 per cent), according to the International Energy Agency (IEA). Along with bioenergy and solar photovoltaic (PV), these sources make up 81 per cent of the power mix.

The district heating sector has nearly eliminated coal, reducing Denmark’s total energy supply (TES) reliance on fossil fuels from 75 per cent in 2011 to 53 per cent in 2022, significantly below the IEA average of 79 per cent.

The Danish wind energy sector not only delivers clean energy but also contributes significantly to export revenue and job creation for thousands of individuals.

China

Despite its ongoing dependence on coal, China has emerged as a dominant force in the development of renewable energy. It holds the title of the world’s largest manufacturer of solar panels and wind turbines.

The China Electricity Council projected that photovoltaics and wind power would account for 40 per cent of the grid-connected capacity by the end of 2024, compared to coal’s 37 per cent, as per their annual report according to World-Energy.

The renewable energy sector in China employs millions and the growth of clean energy industries has also created upstream jobs in critical mineral mining, adding 180,000 jobs in the past three years, according to the IEA. This emphasis on clean energy establishes China as a frontrunner in the race for green technology.

Costa Rica

In Costa Rica, and Paraguay, almost all electricity supply comes from renewable sources, boasting a near-complete reliance on renewable energy sources for electricity generation as per the IEA’s report.

Challenges and prospects

Despite the economic advantages, the transition to renewable energy faces some hurdles. Grid modernization, energy storage solutions, and ensuring a just transition for workers in fossil fuel industries are key areas that require ongoing investment and policy attention.

Investing in a sustainable tomorrow:

The economic rationale for renewable energy is becoming increasingly persuasive. As costs decrease, job opportunities increase, and technological advancements unfold, the transition to a clean energy future is not just inevitable; it’s economically beneficial. By adopting renewable energy sources, countries can create a cleaner planet, a more secure energy future, and a prosperous green economy.

Authored by: Aya Elsayed

ayaelsayed@amwalalghad.com

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