The renewable energies are sources of clean, inexhaustible and increasingly competitive energy . They differ from fossil fuels mainly in their diversity, abundance and potential for use in any part of the planet, but they are all in that they do not produce greenhouse gases -causing climate change- nor polluting emissions . In addition, its costs are steadily declining, while the general trend of fossil fuel costs is the opposite, regardless of its conjunctural volatility.
The growth of clean energies is unstoppable , as reflected in the statistics provided by the International Energy Agency (IEA) in 2015: they represent nearly half of the new electricity generation capacity installed in 2014, since they have been constituted in the second global source of electricity , second only to coal.
According to the IEA, global electricity demand will increase by 70% until 2040, – raising its share of final energy use from 18% to 24% in the same period – spurred mainly by emerging regions (India, China, Africa, Middle East and Southeast Asia).
The development of clean energies is essential to combat climate change and limit its most devastating effects. 2014 was the warmest year since records exist. The Earth has undergone an average warming of 0.85 ° C since the end of the 19th century, says National Geographic in its special issue of Climate Change of November 2015.
In parallel, some 1,100 million inhabitants, 17% of the world population, do not have access to electricity. Likewise, 2,700 million people – 38% of the global population – use traditional biomass to cook, heat or illuminate their homes with serious risk to their health.
Therefore, one of the objectives set by the United Nations is to achieve universal access to electricity by 2030 , an ambitious goal if one considers that, according to the estimates of the IEA, there will be 800 million people without access to supply at that time electric, to follow the current trend.
The renewable energies have received significant support from the international community with the ‘ Paris Agreement ‘ signed at the World Climate Summit in December 2015 in the French capital.
The agreement, which will enter into force in 2020, establishes for the first time in history a binding global objective, by which the 200 signatory countries commit themselves to reduce their emissions so that the average temperature of the planet at the end of this century is “Well below” the two degrees , -the limit above which climate change has more catastrophic effects- and even to try to leave it at 1.5 degrees.
The transition to an energy system based on renewable technologies will also have very positive economic effects. According to IRENA (International Renewable Energy Agency), doubling the share of renewable energies in the world energy mix to reach 36% in 2030 would imply an additional global growth of 1.1% that year (equivalent to 1.3 billion euros). dollars), an increase in welfare of 3.7% and an increase in employment in the sector to more than 24 million people, compared to the current 9.2 million.
WHAT TYPES OF RENEWABLE ENERGIES EXIST?
Between the renewable energies or also called clean energies we find:
- Wind energy: the energy that is obtained from the wind
- Solar energy: the energy that is obtained from the sun. The main technologies are solar photovoltaic (takes advantage of sunlight) and solar thermal (uses the heat of the sun)
- Hydropower or hydroelectric power : the energy obtained from rivers and freshwater streams
- Biomass and biogas : the energy extracted from organic matter
- Geothermal energy: the heat energy contained inside the Earth
- Tidal energy: the energy that is obtained from the tides
- Wave energy or wave energy: the energy obtained from waves
- Bioethanol : organic fuel suitable for the automotive industry that is achieved through processes of fermentation of vegetable products
- Biodiesel : organic fuel for automotive, among other applications, which is obtained from vegetable oils
MAIN ADVANTAGES OF RENEWABLE ENERGIES:
- They are the essential partner against climate change : renewables do not emit greenhouse gases in energy generation processes, which reveals them as the cleanest and most viable solution to environmental degradation.
- They are inexhaustible : unlike traditional sources of energy such coal, gas, oil or nuclear energy, whose reserves are finite, clean energies have the same availability as the sun where they originate and adapt to them. natural cycles (that’s why we call them renewable). Therefore, they are an essential element of a sustainable energy system that allows development without jeopardizing that of future generations.
- Reduce energy dependence : the indigenous nature of clean sources implies a differential advantage for local economies and an incentive for energy independence. The need to import fossil fuels produces a subordination to the economic and political situation of the supplier country that can compromise the security of the energy supply. In any part of the planet there is some kind of renewable resource – wind, sun, water, organic matter – that can be used to produce energy in a sustainable way.
- Increasingly competitive: The main renewable technologies – such as wind and photovoltaic solar – are drastically reducing their costs, so that they are already fully competitive with conventional ones in a growing number of sites. Economies of scale and innovation are already achieving that renewable energies become the most sustainable solution, not only environmentally but also economically, to move the world.
- Favorable political horizon : the decisions agreed at COP21 have brought a torrent of light to the future of renewable energies. The international community has understood the obligation to strengthen the transition towards a low carbon economy for the sustainable future of the planet. The climate of international consensus in favor of the decarbonisation of the economy constitutes a very favorable framework for the promotion of clean energy technologies.
THE MOST USED RENEWABLE ENERGIES
Renewable energies are obtained from inexhaustible natural sources and generate electricity without contributing to global warming. Discover the most used alternative and clean energies in the world
The use of renewable energy is particularly important in the fight against climate change. Renewable energies are those that are obtained from inexhaustible natural sources and generate electricity without contributing to global warming.
The different natural sources to generate clean energy include wind, sunlight, water, geothermal heat, tides, and various forms of biomass, all of which are inexhaustible and in constant renovation.
Most widespread renewable energy sources
Which are the most used renewable energies? Among all types of renewable energy, five stand out for their degree of implementation:
- Wind is one of the renewable energies most widespread today. This energy takes advantage of the force of the wind to generate electricity.
- For its part, photovoltaic solar energy directly transforms solar radiation into electricity thanks to solar panels integrated by photovoltaic cells.
- The solar thermal energy, also called thermoelectric concentrates with mirrors the solar radiation to heat a fluid with which to produce steam and with this, in turn, electricity.
- In the case of hydraulic energy, the force of moving water is used to produce – and sometimes store – clean electricity.
- Finally, biomass uses organic matter as an energy source. This material can be natural, residual or from energy crops.
Main benefits of renewable energies
Why are renewable energies the best bet for a sustainable future? There are many reasons that make them the first option:
- Environmental benefits: energy sources such as wind, water or sun are indigenous and have a much lower environmental impact than conventional energy from fossil fuels, in addition to avoiding importation.
- Lasting energy: renewable energies are inexhaustible, since they are renewed. Compared to other types of conventional energy that are finite and therefore will one day be exhausted, such as oil or coal, renewable energy is a permanent ally.
- It generates employment and improves the economy: most investments in renewable energy are spent on materials and labor to build and maintain facilities locally. This generates local employment and boosts the country’s economy.
- Energy security: renewable energies reduce the energy dependence of a country, promoting self-sufficiency and maintaining a large economic investment that in another situation would be used to import energy from non-renewable sources of foreign countries.