There are numerous benefits to renewable energy. For example, renewable energy refers to sources that will not run out for the foreseeable future, meaning that people can continue to count on them for decades and decades to come, whereas non-renewable sources will be seeing rising costs because of falling supplies as an inevitable result of economic interactions. Furthermore, renewable energy tends to emit much less greenhouse gases than its non-renewable counterpart, which is important because climate change caused by the greenhouse effect promises to be one of the most serious challenges facing the planet for decades and decades to come at a minimum. However, it is important to remember that renewable energy comes with its fair share of challenges, which explains why it is not being implemented as fast as possible but instead permitted to progress at a measured pace.
With that said, it is also important to know that there are a lot of people who are interested in making said challenges a thing of the past, which in turn, means a corresponding amount of time, effort, and other resources being poured into said purpose. Their success can be seen in a recent report from Bloomberg New Energy Finance, which has revealed that solar is becoming more and more competitive, so much so that it is actually the cheapest source of energy for close to 60 low-income countries situated all around the world. Something that promises to have profound implications for the future.
How Has Solar Become the Cheapest New Form of Energy in Nearly 60 Countries?
The report states that solar had an average price of $1.65 million per megawatt in close to 60 low-income countries in 2016. This is even more interesting because it turns out that the second cheapest form of energy in said countries was wind at an average price of $1.66 million per megawatt over the same period of time, which is also considered to be a renewable source of energy. As a result, this seems like clear evidence of the ascent of renewable energy over its non-renewable counterpart, seeing as how price has been one of the most common arguments against the former and in support of the latter.
Still, it is interesting to note that this phenomenon is happening in low-income countries rather than high-income countries, though the reasons seem to be rather simple and straightforward. After all, the demand for energy in high-income countries tends to be flat, whereas the demand for energy in low-income countries tends to be rising upwards. As a result, high-income countries have little demand for more sources of energy, meaning that under those circumstances, renewable energy becomes less desirable because it is competing against existing facilities running off of non-renewable sources. In contrast, low-income countries need more sources of energy to meet their rising demand, which in turn, means that renewable energy is going head-to-head against non-renewable energy under the same conditions, thus explaining its performance.
Regardless, this report is less surprising than it seems because it is the result of trends that have been happening for some time now. First, the equipment used to produce solar power has been becoming better and better since the start of its existence, which should come as no surprise considering the sheer amount of research into said issue. Second, the equipment has not just been becoming better and better but also becoming more and more accessible, thus putting them in range of a wider and wider group of interested individuals, who might not have been able to afford their predecessors.
Third, the improvements in the equipment have been matched by improvements in the models used to make use of said equipment, thus further increasing their effects. Fourth, more and more countries are recognizing the need for renewable energy, which in turn, means more and more interest in renewable sources of power. Something that can be seen in the national policies of rising powers that include China, India, and Brazil, which not only presides over sizable populations situated in significant stretches of land but also command incredible influence over their respective spheres. Summed up, it is no wonder that solar has managed to surpass fossil fuels under certain circumstances, though the timing of the surpassing remains interesting nonetheless.
What Does This Mean?
This is important because it means that solar will make up a bigger and bigger percentage of the sources of power that keep human civilization running as time passes. After all, most of the low-income countries mentioned in the report are catching up to their high-income counterparts, meaning that they will be responsible for most of the sources that will be created in the near future. Since both solar and wind have such an advantage compared to their non-renewable counterparts, this means that it is reasonable to expect them to make up a huge portion of those sources, particularly when extrapolating from what said countries are already installing at the moment.
Furthermore, it is important to note that this phenomenon will not be limited to low-income countries. In part, this is because high-income countries will be creating new sources of energy as well, whether to meet their still increasing demand or to replace old and outdated facilities with new and superior alternatives. However, it should also be noted that solar will not be limited to the countries that choose to invest in solar energy. This is because it is not just possible to store solar energy but also transmit it over incredible distances, meaning that it will be perfectly possible for countries to trade solar energy in much the same way that they trade power produced by other sources of energy in the present.
Summed up, solar and other sources of renewable energy are on the rise, which coincides with a decline in their non-renewable counterparts. For the people who are willing to seize upon this opportunity, this will mean incredible economic opportunities, whether in making use of such technologies or in selling them to other interested individuals. In contrast, people who persist in clinging to what is becoming less and less competitive could end up suffering, which is something that countries all around the world will have to handle as well.