The transition to renewable energies and decarbonization process are unstoppable. As was made clear in Glasgow at the last UN Climate Change Conference, COP26, the energy system we have known up to now has an expiration date and requires the dismantling of fossil fuels. This is the only way to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and reverse climate change.
In this process, green energies play a fundamental role that will continue to grow through research, innovation and ever-increasing competitiveness.
What are renewable energies?
Renewable energies are those obtained from natural and unlimited sources. Their low environmental impact, which would drastically reduce greenhouse gas emissions, makes the focus of policies aimed at achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
There are several types of renewable energies, depending on the natural element that helps to produce them. Among them, the most relevant is solar energy, which uses electromagnetic radiation from the sun to create energy. It is divided into photovoltaic solar energy (which comes from sunlight) and solar thermal energy (which comes from the sun’s heat). It is one of the renewables with the greatest growth projection, especially in those countries that have many days and hours of sunshine per year.
In addition to solar energy, there are the following renewable energies:
- Wind energy: it is the energy obtained by the wind moving the blades of a wind turbine.
- Hydraulic or hydroelectric energy: this is the energy that comes from the movement of water in rivers and other freshwater currents.
- Geothermal energy: uses heat from within the earth’s crust.
- Tidal energy: energy obtained from the movement of the tides.
- Wave energy or wave power: harnesses the movement of waves.
- Biomass and biogas: energy extracted from organic waste.
- Bioethanol: organic fuel suitable for automotive use, obtained through fermentation processes of vegetable products.
- Biodiesel: organic fuel for automotive use, among other applications, obtained from vegetable oils.
The advantages of renewable energies
The energy transition to reverse climate change inevitably involves the development of renewable energies and progressive decarbonization. Advances in research and growing investment have made renewable energies reliable, profitable and increasingly competitive, in contrast to the price volatility of fossil fuels.
They are inexhaustible and do not have limited reserves like gas, oil or nuclear energy, which makes them an essential element of a sustainable energy system that does not threaten the future of the planet.
On the other hand, their role as an element of transformation in developing societies is invaluable in that they reduce energy dependence on fossil fuel exporting countries. Their autochthonous character allows energy to be obtained from renewable resources (wind, sun, water, organic matter) practically anywhere around the world.
Renewables also have a very favorable political framework for their full implementation. In general, there is an atmosphere of international agreement to promote the transition to a low-carbon economy for sustainable future generations.
What are the expectations for the future?
In this context, the energy transition will experience an exponential acceleration in the coming years that will place renewables as the main energy source worldwide. According to forecasts by the International Energy Agency (IEA), the share of renewables in global electricity supply will rise from 26% in 2018 to 44% in 2040, and they will provide two-thirds of the increase in electricity demand recorded in that period. The main players in this phenomenon will be photovoltaic and wind technologies.
The role of renewables becomes even more significant considering that, according to the IEA, global electricity demand will increase by 70% by 2040—raising its share of final energy use from 18% to 24% over the same period—driven mainly by emerging regions (India, China, Africa, Middle East and South East Asia).
Solar PV energy will play a key role in this energy transition. The ‘European solar photovoltaic (PV) market outlook 2021’, published by Wood Mackenzie, forecasts that 20% of all energy produced in Europe in 2050 will come from solar PV technology, with Spain and Germany leading the way.
To produce all this energy, the report continues, photovoltaic installations will have an average annual growth rate of 10% until the end of the decade.
The role of GRS
It will be a process in which companies such as GRS, with a development pipeline of 3.758 MW and a construction pipeline of 2.228 MW and an excellent international projection, with presence in the main strategic markets (Australia, Middle East, etc.), will play a fundamental role.
With 15 years of experience in photovoltaic plant construction projects and their connection to the grid, GRS has led the installation of a total of 116 plants in 18 countries on five continents. Its installations total 2.4 GW of solar energy, an output that avoids the emission of 3 million tonnes of CO2 into the atmosphere.