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Renewable energy new installed capacity ...the good and the bad news

The good and the bad news

Two weeks ago, IRENA organization (International Renewable ENergy Agency) published it's 2020 report. Several positive highlights can be found :

The world has today a total renewable energy electricity production of 2.500 Giga Watts (GW) - installed capacity-. This is a + 7,4 % increase over the last year, and a fantastic +100 % increase over the last decade!  Interesting to note that about 50% of this increase is located in Asia, and close to 75% consist of solar and wind sources. 

More interesting to note is the following: the new electricity production plants are more and more fueled by renewable energies rather than fossil sources (almost 3/4 in 2019):
(sources : IRENA press release)

This is consistent years after years. The recent COVID-19 crisis will probably accelerate this as, due to current low oil prices, new investments in fossil fuel installations are slowed down drastically.

Is it good news? YES sure. 
Is it enough to limit elevation temperature to 2°C (and therefore control climate change)? No for sure.       

Indeed first, it is important to mention that the "load factor" for most renewable energies (ratio between real electricity production and nominal installed capacity) is half compared to fossil fuel installation and just a quarter of one of a nuclear power plant (see Jancovici's article for full details).
So in reality, % electricity produced by renewable energies (in Watt-hour) is lower than the % measured on installed capacity. 

Second, we are speaking about extra electricity production capacity here, it means that the electricity demand is still increasing (actually it rose from 12.000 TWh in 1990 to 26.000 TWh in 2018).

 As electricity production is the first greenhouse gas emitter  (it accounts for 25% of total CO2 emission;  see section "facts" to have more insights), it means that humanity is still loading more and more tons of CO2 eq. gases in the atmosphere years after years to produce its electricity.

So what can we do?

We encourage you to refer to the section "solutions" of this blog to have an extensive view of EXISTING solutions today. It requires an holistic approach, taking into account regional specificities, acting on the reduction of sources of greenhouse gases (and energy demand), improving greenhouse sinks and more generally the society.   

 As we did with the previous post about Bill Gates and Terra power solution, we propose to share our discoveries, explore the existing energy and food production alternatives and see the potential impact they can have for a better world. 


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