Green energy record could be the solution to climate crisis
Figures showing that wind turbines and solar panels generated 10 per cent of global electricity for the first time in 2021 could be a real turning point.
That’s the view of Midlands green energy expert Ron Fox who said: “This proves that green energy can be the solution to the climate crisis and the world’s dependence on fossil fuels.”
Together with other clean carbon free sources they produced 38 per cent of all the electricity last year with the share from wind and solar power doubling since the Paris climate treaty was signed in 2015.
Now 50 countries are getting more than a tenth of their power from the wind and the sun with the Netherlands, Australia and Vietnam all successfully achieving that in the last two years, according to research by Ember, a climate and energy think tank.
“These three countries show that it’s having the right environmental policies that make all the difference,” said Ron, of Noreus Ltd at Keele University, Staffordshire.
“The Netherlands have succeeded as a northern European country where the sun doesn’t shine all the year round while Vietnam saw a spectacular growth in solar power of more than 300 per cent in one year helped mainly by feed-in tariffs where the government pays consumers to help generate electricity.
“The double benefit in Vietnam is that solar power didn’t just meet the increased demand for electricity, it also led to a fall in coal and gas use there.”
But he said the downside was that at the same time demand for electricity grew at a record pace after the covid lockdown, the equivalent to adding a new India to the world’s grid. This also led to a surge in coal power, rising by nine per cent at the fastest rate since 1985, particularly in China and India. At the same time gas use increased globally by only one per cent.
“However, it is interesting,” said Ron, “that gas prices are ten times more expensive than they were this time last year while coal is only three times dearer.”
Despite this resurgence in coal use, major industrial nations such as the UK, the US, Germany and Canada are still aiming for their national grids to have 100 per cent carbon free electricity within 15 years to try and keep the rise in the world’s temperatures under 1.5C this century.
Already, Denmark now gets more than 50 per cent of their electricity from wind and solar.
Ironically, the war in Ukraine could encourage countries to look more at these green energy sources so they are not dependent on Russian imports of oil and gas
“The encouraging news,” added Ron, “is that wind and solar power needs to grow at around 20 per cent every year up to 2030 and scientists believe this is now ‘eminently possible’.”
Next week – reaction to the government’s new energy policy.
Caption: Sunny outlook – solar panels generated 10 per cent of global electricity for the first time in 2021.