Many climate activists were in fear that Donald Trump’s US win would be a death knell for renewable energy. Yet despite Trump’s love for coal, there will not be a decline in renewable energy. Renewable energy is not going to be driven by fear of climate change, or concern for the environment, but by simple economics. Coal is expensive. It’s difficult and dangerous to extract and causes all sorts of health problems for coal miners, their families and neighbours… and then there’s the pollution…
UAE recently broke the record for generating electricity from solar for less than 3 cents per kilowatt-hour i.e. almost half the average global cost of coal. So while the US may be turning it’s back on green technologies, the rest of the world will not. As technology improves to become more reliable and more affordable, sun rich regions, such as India, Africa, Latin America will move towards solar energy. Assuming that energy storage technology continues to improve with the fall in prices, solar power will become highly competitive even after the sun sets.
Wind and Wave Power
Island and coastal nations will start to move towards wind and wave power as already demonstrated by the huge investment in the Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon project, which is almost certainly going to proceed – and this is just the beginning. Numerous other sites have already been identified for future developments, just as soon as the concept has been approved.
India and China to Lead the World on Climate Change
India and China are among the top polluters of the world. As the workshop of the world, these two countries are key in thindiae battle against climate change.
China has recently announced that, they would invest at least $361 billion into renewable energy by the year 2020, although they have not confirmed how that money will be spent. We do know that China is investing heavily into battery technology, electrical distribution and photovoltaics. According to International Energy Agency 3.5 million of the current 8 million renewable energy jobs in the world are based in China.
India, is keen to be the world leader in renewable energy. They have already made an unprecedented commitment to produce 175 gigawatts of renewable energy by the year 2022, at the Paris climate conference. To achieve this target India has recently announced an investment of $1.8 billion to enhance solar powered transmission lines. A special green corridor is in the making, which will transmit 20 gigawatts of power. 31 solar parks across 21 states have been created. India has already added around 19 gigawatt of renewable energy to their power supply in past 4 years. In 2015 alone, India invested $10 billion in the renewable sector. By the year 2030 India is also planning a big shift towards electric transportation, moving them from the worlds workshop to the worlds power supply.
If we ignore the environmental and health benefits of clean energy (not that these aren’t important!) and focus instead only on the economic benefits (the things that drive political and business decisions), renewable energies are clearly the future.
So back to the US of A. Is America really going to allow the rest of the world to overtake them on green technologies?