PacB Group // What makes Renewable Energy Renewable and Why is it So Important?


What makes Renewable Energy Renewable and Why is it So Important?

Renewable energy is energy harnessed from the Earth’s inherent natural resources. It is distinguished from other energy sources by the fact that renewable energy sources are infinite and inexhaustible. The first renewable energy sources most people think of are wind and sunlight but as far as the production of electrical energy goes, hydropower (energy derived from water held in dams) has been around the longest.

Non-renewable sources such as fossil fuels are exhaustible, and if we keep using them, they will run out. Renewable energy serves as a viable alternative to conventional energy production that relies on the combustion of fossil fuels. Notably, renewable sources reduce the environmental impact of energy production and, critically, will always be available. They are truly sustainable into the future.

Renewables, including solar, wind, hydropower, biofuels, and others, are at the heart of the transition to more environmentally friendly, less carbon-intensive, and more sustainable energy production. Generation capacity has grown rapidly in recent years, driven by government policy support and sharp cost reductions in the cost of solar photovoltaic systems and wind turbines.


Why Renewable Energy?

Around 80% of the global population live in nations that are net importers of fossil fuels. This dependence on external fossil fuel sources makes these countries susceptible to geopolitical and economic instabilities. Renewable energy sources are ubiquitous with untapped potential across all nations. Projections by the International Renewable Energy Agency indicate that 90% of the world’s electricity could and should be derived from renewable sources by 2050.

This would offer nations that import fossil fuels a way of mitigating import dependency and shield them from unpredictable price fluctuations in fossil fuels. Adopting renewables fosters inclusive economic growth, generates employment opportunities, and aids in the alleviation of poverty.

In the contemporary global energy landscape, renewable energy stands out as the most cost-effective power option across most regions. The rapid decline in prices for renewable technologies enhances the appeal of renewables, particularly for the low- and middle-income countries who are expected to drive the bulk of future electricity demand. Despite cost increases for solar and wind power in 2022 and 2023, they remain competitive as escalations in gas and coal prices have been higher.

Health considerations also align with the promotion of renewable energy sources, given that renewable energy sources do not have the negative impact on air quality that burning fossil fuels has. Hazardous fine particulate matter and nitrogen dioxide in the air in most countries are attributable to the combustion of fossil fuels. The transition to clean energy sources, such as wind and solar, not only addresses climate change but also combats air pollution, contributing to improved public health.

Renewable energy initiatives are significant catalysts for employment generation. The transition to net-zero emissions by 2030 will create far more jobs than will be lost in the fossil fuel production industry. Energy-related industries provide additional opportunities in the manufacturing of electric vehicles, hyper-efficient appliances, and emerging technologies like hydrogen.

From a purely economic perspective, renewable energy makes sense. Although the upfront costs may pose challenges for economically constrained nations, the long-term benefits are substantial. The anticipated savings, driven by pollution and climate impact reductions, will offset the initial cost. The adoption of efficient and reliable renewable technologies contributes to a more resilient and secure energy system that’s less susceptible to market shocks and provides a more diversified power supply. Numerous communities and countries are increasingly recognising the advantages of renewable energy in terms of economic, societal, and environmental dividends.


The Future of Renewable Energy

Forecasts indicate that there will be an increase in global solar capacity alone to in the region of 600 gigawatts (GW) by 2024. The overall global production of electricity from all renewable sources is predicted to grow by 1,200 GW from all sources. Solar energy will contribute significantly to the projected growth in renewable energy and will account for over half of the projected growth. Residential solar power is expected to surge to 142 GW by 2024, with China leading the world in installed residential solar capacity.

There will also be substantial growth in offshore wind capacity as countries like Japan explore offshore wind turbines as a replacement for nuclear reactors. Japan is making significant legislative changes to encourage wind-based electricity.

Hydropower remains a primary source of renewable power. Although it has been a source of electrical power since 1878, even hydro is set to increase by 9% by 2024, with China, India, and Brazil building new capacity. Despite challenges due to rising investment costs, hydropower is also expected to expand in sub-Saharan Africa.

As the world focuses more and more on finding alternatives to fossil fuels, renewable energy will increasingly dominate the global energy landscape. Renewable energy sources will surpass traditional sources and mitigate greenhouse gas emissions. The future lies in a global shift towards sustainable and secure energy practices.


The Move to Energy Abundance and Super Abundance

In recent decades, the focus has been on enhancing energy efficiency rather than exploring new and productive avenues for increased energy utilisation. The emphasis on energy efficiency is understandable when energy costs are high and when consumers are sensitive to the negative environmental consequences of burning fossil fuels.

Policymakers have prioritised energy efficiency as energy costs have escalated with measures, such as bans on incandescent light bulb sales and fuel economy standards for motor vehicles. At the dawn of the nuclear energy age in the 1950s, claims of energy becoming “too cheap to meter,” turned out to be overly optimistic but recent cost reductions in wind and solar energy production have sparked renewed optimism that costs can rapidly decrease with sufficient scale. If these trends continue or if similar cost declines occur with advanced nuclear or geothermal technologies, we may find ourselves in a world with cheap energy, the extreme of which has been called “energy superabundance.”

Research shows that higher energy consumption directly contributes to economic growth. Cheap energy not only reduces the cost of energy-dependent goods and services but, more importantly, enables the production of new goods and services in economically viable ways if energy costs are low.


Renewables or Generators – Speak to the Industry Leaders

We at PacB are an industry leader in the power-generation industry in Southern Africa. Although we are best known for our premium-quality industrial generators, our expertise spans several energy-generation sources and the associated electrical infrastructure. Our team of experienced engineers and technicians is dedicated to designing and delivering robust power-generation solutions for any electrical power user. We have a proven track record for delivering class-leading solutions, whether with diesel generators, renewables, or hybrid systems employing both.

From residential setups to large utility-scale installations, we deliver functional, robust solutions that our maintenance teams keep running flawlessly. With us assisting you, you can take control of your power. Contact us today for anything related to electrical power.

Our qualified technicians offer support and advice in the selection of the right power solution for your needs by calculating your power requirements.

© All content copyright PacB Power Solutions
close slider