What is renewable energy? Learn about the importance of using renewable resources to maintain the future.
The discourse on the use of renewable energy as an alternative to fossil fuels has gained strength in recent times, mainly due to the climate crisis. In addition, non-renewable energy sources, such as oil and its derivatives, are finite resources that took millions of years to become available.
Otherwise, we have water, wind, sunlight and organic matter as examples of cleaner and more renewable sources. In this case, nature itself manages to renew its stocks in natural cycles without depending on human action. As a result, the exploitation of these resources for energy generation has already increased and should continue to develop in the coming years.
Here are the main points you need to know about renewable energy.
The growth of renewable energy
For many decades since the Industrial Revolution, the extraction and processing of fossil fuels have been the main energy resources. However, from the 1970s onwards, given the environmental impact and high dependence on non-renewable sources, countries began to explore other alternatives.
Since then, several nations have invested in research into technological innovations to enable the use of other energy sources, such as solar, wind (wind), hydro, biomass and biogas (burning and decomposition of organic materials), tidal wave (ocean waves), geothermal (heat from the earth) and hydrogen (breaking down of water molecules).
According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), the renewable energy sector employed 12 million people worldwide in 2020, 500,000 more jobs than in 2019 and predicts the creation of 43 million more by 2050. China, followed by Brazil, India, the USA and members of the European Union were the main responsible for this advance.
Yet, according to another report by the same agency, the potential for renewable resources in Brazil is above the world average, especially for solar and biomass energy sources. Thus, despite the Brazilian energy matrix being formed by almost half of renewable sources, there is still room for its expansion, mainly with biomass, wind and solar. In fact, solar energy has become the third largest source of the Brazilian electricity matrix.
Investments in renewable energy and the future of the sector
The release of warning reports on the climate situation and the increase in social appeal for the energy transition are influencing the progressive commitment of countries to achieve net zero carbon emissions.
Therefore, a positive scenario is expected for the future of the exploration of renewable resources. According to the World Energy Transitions Outlook, current government strategies already foresee significant energy investments worth US$98 trillion by 2050. Not only governments, but private companies have also begun to pay more attention to the energy transition. In addition to energy savings, the use of clean energy can provide certificates to institutions, which helps to improve their image in the market compared to competitors.
Although the initial investment is high, the value can be recovered in the medium and long term due to the savings generated. The processing and distribution of fossil fuels tend to become more expensive in the future, while the generation of clean energy tends to reduce costs, due to technological advances and government incentives.
In Brazil, the main source of renewable energy is hydraulic energy, which is obtained through running water and waterfalls. However, in recent years both wind energy, solar energy and biomass have started to grow, with public and private investments.
Now, both the federal government and the states are developing actions to encourage use in their communities. The Renova Paraná Program is an example. Through it, the government of Paraná stimulates the production of renewable energy, offering more accessible conditions for rural producers who wish to invest in the system. There are already 2,157 projects served in the state and the expected return on invested capital is an average of 44 months.
Therefore, we have seen that in addition to contributing to the mitigation of climate change, investment in clean energy sources can also contribute to reducing a company’s production costs. And more and more new technologies are more accessible to the public and companies.
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