Green energy accounted more than 30 % of global energy consumption 2023

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Lauantai 18.5.2024 klo 16.25 - Mikko Nikinmaa

It is good news that renewable energy contributed more than 30 % of global energy last year. However, even though this milestone was reached, the global use of fossil fuels still increased. This is mainly because of the increased energy consumption in global South, and simultaneous droughts in, e.g., China, which have caused a decrease in hydroelectric power production that was compensated for by coal and oil burning. Without decreased hydroelectric power production, it is likely that energy production with no carbon dioxide emissions would have increased enough to cause a decrease in fossil fuel-based energy production. With marked building of wind and solar energy power stations, it is estimated that 2023 was the last year with an increase in fossil fuel use.

It is commonly stated that one cannot rely in wind and solar power, since the energy production is highly variable, and in many areas very unpredictable. However, in most cases a combination of wind and solar power is quite constant energy source: when it is cloudy and rainy, and little solar energy is gained, normally it is very windy with large energy production from wind mills; in contrast, when sun shines and solar energy production great, it is normally calm, and little wind energy becomes available. Thus, when both types of power stations are plentiful, variation in energy production is reduced. One can further decrease the variability by energy storage: when energy is cheaply produced by windmills, some of it can be used to pump water to storage sites, which can generate hydroelectric power when little wind power is available.

New ways of renewable energy production will become cheaper with their increased use, and it can be said that energy production using fossil fuels soon becomes markedly more expensive than using renewable sources. In this scenery, it is problematic that in many countries the conservative right has not realized that one should reduce fossil fuel use. For example, in Finland the conservative (Kokoomus-Perussuomalaiset) government has increased the fossil fuel use and support during the past year. Similarly, the US republicans seem to support the oil lobby. And it appears that the republican presidential candidate, Trump, is very much against wind energy.

It is kind of funny, everywhere conservatives say that they are the parties that care of economics. However, their present decisions are not in line of any economic thinking, but supporting energy production using means that are outdated, expensive, and cause environmental damage, which will become very expensive to remediate. I guess this shows mainly that they are hoping to get the golden days of childhood (which only exist in memories) back.

Avainsanat: renewable energy, wind power, solar power, fossil fuels

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