Renewable energy has long been used in many countries as a way to power a healthier and safer future. This type of energy is more sustainable than fossil fuels, which damage the environment and create air pollutants. It also provides a reliable source of electricity.
In recent years, solar and wind technologies have advanced considerably. They are now comparable to the cost of traditional fossil fuels, and are becoming more mainstream. Wind and solar energy can cut significantly in the amount of pollutants that are emitted into the atmosphere. However, they require storage capacity, and back-up generating facilities.
The transition to renewables is not a quick process. Some estimates suggest that it will take thirty years to replace fossil fuels with sustainable sources. Those estimates are based on scenarios analyzed by researchers at Stanford University. Using these estimates, a roadmap was created to transition to 80% renewables by 2030.
A major challenge to renewables is the need for more flexible and efficient generating systems. The intermittent nature of wind and solar means that backup generating capacity will need to be built to meet demand. As a result, a wide network will be required. And with a growing proportion of variable renewables, system costs will increase.
To reduce overall system costs, it may be possible to divide regions into twenty sub-regions, which could allow them to work together to store and distribute energy more efficiently. Another way to increase the potential of renewables is to add hydrogen as a transport fuel, which can improve their potential.
The use of renewable energy can also help to diversify our fuel sources, which will enhance our energy security. By switching to clean power, we can eliminate the need for more fossil fuels and reduce our emissions of carbon dioxide, which contributes to global warming. Similarly, we can avoid the production of nitrogen oxides and sulfur dioxide, which trigger asthma attacks. These two air pollutants are also linked to respiratory infections and smog.
In addition to its role in reducing pollution, the switch to renewables can help to stabilize the global energy sector. According to one study, it can eliminate about four to seven million deaths from air pollution each year. Moreover, a 40% reduction in economy-wide emissions by 2030 will lower health risks associated with climate change. While these goals are relatively low compared to the global targets, they are still a significant step towards a cleaner and safer future.
While a switch to renewables can lead to a more stable global energy landscape, it is important to keep in mind that the process will take a while. In order to achieve this goal, a strong federal mandate and mandates from state governments will need to be in place.
If we can achieve the goal of replacing fossil fuels with clean sources, we can expect to see a reduction in per capita CO2 emissions by 9% by 2030. Moreover, a market-determined carbon price will make renewables a more attractive option for the general public.