021 was a great year for renewable energy as wind, solar, and other clean sources generated 38 percent of the world's demand for electric power – an unprecedented achievement for clean energy sources.
Renewable sources hit a record in 2021
For the first time in history, renewables have overtaken coal, which accounted for 36 percent of global electric energy production. This proves that the clean energy transition is well on its way, and everyone has a chance to be a part of it.
Alternative power generation is carbon-free, but there is a catch
Renewable sources such as solar and wind are valued for clean electricity generation. But does it mean that these technologies have absolutely no carbon footprint? In fact, all renewable energy systems are responsible for a small amount of carbon dioxide emitted during their manufacturing and installation. However, the clean energy generated has a much larger positive impact on the environment. So yes, renewable energy sources can still be considered highly eco-friendly.
Hydropower is the leader in the green energy sector
Hydropower is nowadays the largest renewable energy worldwide, generating twice as much energy as wind and four times as much as solar. Despite hydropower’s current leading position, this renewable energy is not as fast-growing as wind and solar energy. In the United States, the development of hydropower generation gets not so much attention, as the country has already built hydropower plants in the most geographically ideal locations.
Solar could be the world’s primary power source by 2050
According to some reports issued by the International Energy Agency (IEA), the sun could be the world’s largest source of electricity by the middle of the century, ahead of fossil fuels, hydro, wind, and nuclear. As the reports state, solar photovoltaic systems and solar thermal electricity combined could have a total capacity of 4,600 gigawatts by 2050, compared to just 154 gigawatts in 2014.
Renewable energy is getting cheaper
Until recently, electricity from fossil fuels was the cheapest, allowing coal, oil, and natural gas to dominate the global energy supply. But this has changed dramatically. In some regions, power from renewable energy sources is now cheaper than from fossil fuels. The affordability of renewables gives countries a compelling reason to stop using coal plants while meeting growing energy demands.
It's not just about helping the climate but cutting utility bills
Depending on your living area’s climate conditions, solar panels or wind turbines can significantly lessen the pressure on your wallet by generating your own electricity. In addition to lowering utility bills, many states and power providers offer numerous renewable energy incentives, credits, and discounts. Contact your local energy provider to learn more about your options.
Renewable energy creates more jobs than fossil fuels
According to some estimates, switching to renewable energy can potentially create 5 million more jobs by 2050 than sticking to fossil fuels. Let’s check the U.S. statistics of previous years. In 2017, for example, the renewable energy industry employed 777,000 people, with bioenergy as the largest employer and solar as the second largest. The most rapid growth has come from solar and wind: jobs in these sectors outnumbered coal and gas jobs in 30 states.
… and a few more quick facts that sound inspiring
As we're getting to the end of the article, here are some fun facts about clean power that might surprise you:
- Iceland leads the world with almost 100% energy produced from renewable sources thanks to plentiful geothermal and hydro reserves.
- The largest wind turbine ever created is located in Hawaii. It is twenty stories tall, and each blade is longer than a football field.
- Completing the first trip around the world solely on power from solar energy, the experimental Solar Impulse aircraft proved that we could achieve incredible results if we go green.