How the Pandemic is Accelerating the Push to Renewable Energy

Article By : Maurizio Di Paolo Emilio

The coronavirus pandemic might have positive consequences: the crisis appears to be accelerating the transition from fossil to renewable energy sources.

Sustainability and renewable energy have nowadays become a key topic, due to the growing population on our planet and the limited availability of non-renewable sources. Renewable resources are conquering the scene, but we still need to believe and invest on such a new approach on energy. Fossil fuels will surely decline, with a possible exception for natural gas with some subsidies. The financial scenario is also promoting the energy transition towards the “zero emissions” objective: more and more companies are, in fact, disinvesting from fossil fuels as they are proving to be a declining business. The International Energy Agency (IEA) latest report estimates that renewable energy sources will meet more than 40 percent of total energy demand in the coming years. The growth in renewable power is a consequence of technological innovation which has increased production efficiency and enabled the drastic decline in prices, particularly for solar energy. Solar energy is one of the best-known alternative energy sources, it produces heat and electricity from sunlight. Space heating or lighting also contribute to the production of solar energy. The coronavirus pandemic might have positive consequences: the crisis appears to be accelerating the transition from fossil to renewable energy sources. A report by BP, the former British Petroleum, analyzed the impact of Covid-19 and noted the fall in absolute terms on oil demands for the first time in modern history. The company’s annual report on the future of energy says oil will be replaced by clean electricity from wind farms, solar panels, and hydroelectric power plants as renewable energy proves to be the fastest-growing source. The most pessimistic of the three scenarios for renewable versus fossil-based resources, states that oil consumption levels will remain constant until 2035 when they will possibly start to decline. The pandemic might have given a green turn to the energy ecosystem; economically developed countries are implementing more ambitious climate policies and increasing carbon taxes, focusing on the ecological turnaround to boost recovery. The growth in sales of electric, hybrid, and hydrogen vehicles will also weigh on oil demand as this is predicted to drop as much as 80 percent by 2050. The commitments made by world countries on the Paris agreement to keep global temperatures well below 2° compared to pre-industrialized levels, cannot be wished away. All these changes will also put a strain on the networks. Microgrids, solar storage systems, electric vehicle chargers, distributable energy loads, and other distributed energy resources will play an increasingly important role in determining the balance between electricity supply and demand. This article was originally published on EEWeb. Maurizio Di Paolo Emilio holds a Ph.D. in Physics and is a telecommunication engineer and journalist. He has worked on various international projects in the field of gravitational wave research. He collaborates with research institutions to design data acquisition and control systems for space applications. He is the author of several books published by Springer, as well as numerous scientific and technical publications on electronics design.

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