investment in green energy worldwide surged to 17% to $270 billion in 2014 according to UNEP. China had the biggest renewable energy investment in 2014 with a record of $ 83.3 billion up to 39% from 2013. There was rapid expansion of renewable energy into the markets of developing countries.
Brazil and South Africa was also in the top investing countries. Countries such as Indonesia, Chile, Mexico, Kenya and Turkey invested more than $ 1 billion in renewable energies. Solar, wind and other renewable capacity were focused. Coal and gas- fired electricity generation investment decreased half of that of renewable energy. Developing world investments in renewable energy topped those developed nations for the first time.
Renewable energy is generally defined as energy that is collected from resources which are naturally replenished on a human timescale, such as sunlight, wind, rain, tides, waves, and geothermal heat. Renewable energy often provides energy in four important areas: electricity generation, air and water heating/cooling, transportation, and rural energy services. Prior to the development of coal in mid 19th century, nearly all energy used was renewable.
With the global concern of climate change and global warming, the world is again slowly trying to shift its paradigm from the fossil fuels to renewable energy sources. Countries like Denmark, Sweden, Germany, Scotland, and Ireland have shown exemplary actions towards the possibility of 100% shift in renewable energy. Amongst renewable energy sources wind, solar and hydro powers are widely adopted. Solar and wind have slowly taken off since 2008 because of high volume production in China. This shows that renewable energy can be a reliable source of energy.
However, to approach 100% renewable energy by 2050, the rate of deployment still needs to accelerate by an order of magnitude (factor of ten). It still has a long way to go inorder to completely replace fossil fuel; oil, coal, and natural gas as primary source of energy.
Some people, however, believe that traditional source of energy cannot be replaced by renewable energy. Renewable energy is totally dependent on the fossil fuel-based economy. Coal power is used to produce solar cells in some places. And for massive increase in production, a corresponding increase in air pollution and environmental devastation from the use of conventional energy to produce solar cells is essential.
Energy transitions take a long time. It took more than 50 years for coal to replace wood as the world’s leading source of energy and another 50 years for oil to overtake coal; the shift from fossil fuels to renewables is not likely to occur any faster. But the growing concern over climate change is leading to increasingly strict controls on carbon dioxide and other greenhouse x zgas emissions, while a continuing cascade of innovations in renewable technology is lowering their price and speeding their installation.
The transition to renewable sources will be accelerated by dramatic improvements in pricing and performance. Due to steady increases in efficiency of wind and solar systems, coupled with savings achieved through large-scale manufacture, the price of renewables is falling globally.
With dropping price, renewable energy is now proving competitive with fossil fuels for generating electricity in many areas. Thus creating a strong bridge for this much needed transition.