14 Future Alternative Energy Sources
The way we generate energy is changing: In 2019, the UK celebrates a milestone of generating more energy from renewable energy than fossil fuels. Globally, the success of implementation is equally impressive, as renewable generation capacity reached 2,351 GW at the end of 2018.
Alternative energy is on the rise, we need to do more to tackle climate change and shift away from fossil fuels for good. GreenMatch presents an infographic with insights about the current scope of investments within the industry, facts, and a list of 14 alternative energy technologies that will shape the future of the industry.
Current Overview of Installed Capacity
In 2018, renewable energy generation represented 33% of the global installed power capacity, generated by six main alternative energy sources. In the top three, hydropower’s generation capacity of 1,172 GW is almost half of the total amount alone. Wind power accounted for 564 GW and solar power came third with 480 GW.
Is Investment in 2019 Slowing Down?
REN21 reports that global investment in new capacity reached USD 288.9 billion, excluding hydropower above 50MW. This signifies the importance of alternative energy. However, as we are on our path of decarbonisation, and following the Paris Agreement, global investments in the future need to surpass the trillion mark by 2050.
In the UK and China, the closure of the Feed-in-Tariff for solar power schemes posed a slow start of 2019, but future projections foresee a stabilisation.
Future Alternative Energy Scope
Wider adoption of renewables may be difficult with current technologies. It will require huge costs and it may take years of restructuring the electric utility industry.
In order to utilise energy that is mostly weather or time-dependent to its full potential, we are yet to come up with better energy storage solutions.
Innovative Future Technologies
Current large-scale wind and solar farms require a lot of space. With the predicted 9.7 billion rise in population by 2050, minimising land footprint is vital.
Space solar is a technology that can meet the rising energy demands in the future. Although still very costly, prototypes have a promising potential for utilising the sunlight from space without time and sunlight restrictions.
Generating energy from the sun with conventional solar panels is easy, but what do we do with the energy we don’t need? Battery storage for alternative energy is another issue in a sector dominated by fossil fuel-adapted systems.
However, we may depend on sources such as green hydrogen in the future. Uses are versatile - hydrogen gas can be supplied to the natural gas grid, or by using fuel cells to be reconverted to electricity. Hydrogen might be widely used in the transportation sector, when we are able to come with less costly solutions for wider implementation.
To find out more about the alternative energy technologies, you can read the full blog post here.
Communications Assistant at GreenMatch
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