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 Renewable Energy Is Charging Ahead.

 Renewable energy has seen considerable
growth in recent years, but there is a long way to go to achieve a clean
energy future that averts the worst effects of the climate crisis. The
window is quickly closing on our ability to meet the goal of the 2015 Paris
climate agreement: keeping global temperature rise well below two degrees
Celsius by the end of the century.

The latest report from the
Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) stressed that the world
needs fast and deep emissions cuts to meet that goal and eventually reach
net zero emissions by 2050. Switching to renewable forms of power
generation, such as solar, wind and hydropower, will be a key component of
that effort. “The target is very ambitious,” says Heymi Bahar, a senior
energy analyst at the International Energy Agency.

And every year that goes
by without major climate action, “we are basically losing the carbon
[budget] that is left, and we need to go faster in a more expansive way. In
that sense, most of the job, according to our models, needs to be done in
the coming seven years,” Bahar says.

Globally, renewables account for
about one third of electricity generation—and that share is rising. In
2022 renewable generation capacity grew by a record 295 gigawatts,
according to the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA). Further,
renewables accounted for more than 80 percent of all added power capacity
last year, the agency reported. Last year renewables produced more
electricity than coal-powered plants for the first time in the U.S. Wind
and solar now produce about 14 percent of the country’s electricity, up
from virtually nothing just 25 years ago. The U.S. Energy Information
Administration expects that more than half of electric generation capacity
added to the nation’s grid in 2023 will be from solar energy.

The main reason renewable energy has grown so much in recent years is a dramatic
decline in the expense of generating solar and wind power. The cost of
solar photovoltaic cells has dropped a stunning 90 percent over the past
decade, partly because of ramped-up manufacturing—particularly in
China—Bahar says. Government subsidies in countries such as the U.S. also
helped renewables grow in the early years, as did policies making
commitments to renewable adoption, says Inês Azevedo, an associate
professor in the department of energy science and engineering at Stanford
University.* For example, many U.S. states set standards for how much of
their electricity needs should be met with renewable energy by a particular

 Scientific American 21st April 2023


April 25, 2023 - Posted by | 2 WORLD, ENERGY

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