So much is happening here during Earth Day to protect and feed the planet! The future is now for CleanTech and renewable energy.
We have smart meters that are connected to the internet and offer data traces of electricity and suggestions for better consumption, such as when charging batteries for optimum efficiency. We are beginning to hear about micretes introducing local energy production – static energy conservation by batteries mitigates renewable intermittent energy. Heat pumps that draw hot air from cold areas and vice versa are becoming much more common due to their extreme energy efficiency – they create more hot energy than what they use.
Topics that talk about the progress on this Earth Day 2021 range from renewable energy sources and technologies such as solar panels, wind power, building electricity, energy efficient infrastructure, zero-emission transportation, transmission and storage of renewable energy, and elimination of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. We feel much more confident that major advances in energy sources, transportation, and heating can help us reach net zero by 2050 if cities and innovations are digitally linked for real impact.
The Future Is Now – But We Must Remember Where We Started
Let’s start with some statistics on climate change to create the scene. For nearly 12,000 years, carbon dioxide made up about 280 parts per million of Earth’s atmosphere. Since the Industrial Revolution, this has grown to 415 parts per million. That’s a 50% increase. Every year, these shares per million increase by about 2.5. It is estimated that about three-quarters of global warming comes from this increased concentration of CO2 and that humans are responsible for about half of those emissions. Over the last 60 years, the planet’s surface temperature has risen by about one degree Celsius.
If current policies continue, around 2100 temperatures will rise by about four degrees Celsius. With only the one-Celsius increase already set in, the frequency of billion-dollar weather events has nearly tripled in the last 20 years. If we continue to pollute at this rate, we could see a 10% decrease in global economic output, about 800 million people would be displaced, and deadly heat waves that could kill millions.
This is a desperate situation. If we want to believe that the future is now, we need to look to CleanTech and renewable energy, which may be the solution. The Paris Climate Agreement aims to limit these global temperature increases to no more than 20 degrees Celsius from pre-industrial temperatures. We have already reached half of that distance, a goal that is likely to be achieved through the transition to renewable energy but also through great energy efficiency and fuel change.
In 2019, nearly 27% of global electricity generation was generated from renewable sources, aided by developments by CleanTech that aim to mitigate or even stop negative environmental impacts. Of course, many investments and interests in actions taking place in CleanTech and renewable energy will be driven by governments and companies.
Just this week, Bloomberg reported that European Union (EU) lawmakers reached a late agreement to make the bloc’s ambitious climate goals legally binding, paving the way for new rules and standards to overhaul the entire economy. It took place a day before a climate summit of world leaders hosted by US President Joe Biden. Representatives of EU governments and the European Parliament have in principle agreed on the so-called European Climate Law, which envisages a 55% reduction in net greenhouse gas emissions by 2030, compared to 1990 levels, and zero net emissions by 2050. on Wednesday, the European Commission will reveal standards for the classification of green investment.
A massive transition with global implications is underway through many different segments of CleanTech and renewable energy. In the past 2 decades on both offshore wind and solar photovoltaics have produced a flexion point in the renewable part of the global electricity mix. The leveled cost of electricity is the expense required to build and operate a power source during a specific cost recovery period. Over the past decade, we have seen a cost for solar decrease by 80% and on and off wind together fall by about 55%.
Right now we have already seen the cost of renewable energy, especially solar and terrestrial wind, fall below those leveled costs. That is in most of the world. By the end of the decade, the cost of renovations will fall another 60 to 70%, as innovation and continued investment by the public and private sectors continue to drive those economies of scale. These declines are mainly due to economies of scale and innovation, past investments and support policies, both of which are part of that investment, especially from the public sector. Together, these have helped renewables become more expensive. In most of the world, these costs fall below coal and gas plants.
The United States and Climate Leadership: Can the United States Claim that the Future is Now for Renewables?
Renewable energy sources reflect energy independence, as electricity is generated from the natural environment. Indirect electrification occurs when enough batteries are stored to store energy when the sun is not shining or when the wind is not blowing. As an innovation center, the United States is re-establishing its geopolitical relations with the rest of the western world, seeking renewables as part of a future clean energy. Once again, the United States is leading the world in oil production. How can the United States say that the future is now for climate policy if it does not turn its proverbial oil?
Let’s approach one U.S. state that lives the mantra “future now,” as an example of the development in CleanTech and renewable energies, with the hope of further reducing dependence on fossil fuels. The fifth largest oil producer in the world, following countries such as Russia, Saudi Arabia and Iraq, Texas has never hesitated to celebrate its wealth of oil. However, Texas is actually a little advocating for renewable energy. Several influences removed Texas from being a strictly oil state and becoming a leader in renewable energy. It was a combination of abundant natural renewable energy resources that are combined with support from legislation. Add declining costs, and Texas has made renewable energy a very viable energy source.
Strong and consistent winds throughout the year make wind energy the predominant form of renewable energy in Texas, for example. Research from the University of Texas at Austin has shown that, for new energy capacity, wind is the cheapest form of energy generation in Texas. Renewable energy makes the most sense due to cost-competitive analysis. More than 17% of Texas ’power comes from wind power, which surpassed coal in 2020 to become the second largest segment. It is the largest wind producer in the United States, producing about a quarter of the country’s total wind power.
And what about windows? If Texas were its own country, it would be the fifth largest window producer in the world, almost comparable to its position with oil production.
We are at Pure Technique everyone knows that Tesla has committed to building its largest factory in the world just outside Austin, producing battery-powered cyber tricks among many other models in the state. When Elon Musk sees potential, we all realize. Tesla leads in such a way that the transportation sector loves a decarbonized transportation option. For Tesla owners, the future is now, and Texas is listening.
Renewables today are only 11% of total energy consumption. Electricity generation is only 30% of emissions. If the rest of the economy were decarbonized, it would affect many sectors of society – agriculture, transportation, steel production and much more. The transformation must begin with the modernization of a powerful infrastructure to deal with extensive electricity – a smart grid decentralized and multidirectional. This system would allow renewable energy in residential and commercial areas to produce electricity and contribute to the grid. We all advocate as voters for this change during Earth Day and every day, right?
Let’s send a shout out to a podcast that offered ideas on CleanTech and renewable energy.