Today, oil accounts for a majority of global energy consumption and as a result, it remains the world’s leading fuel. However, due to dwindling reserves natural gas and other alternative fuels are gaining attention and hence will see a rise in demand. Even though there is no impending oil crisis, policy makers and environment advocates have stressed the need to shift the world’s energy mix from one which is heavy on non-renewable sources to an energy mix heavy on renewable sources. This is both for sustainability and cost purposes.
Consequently, renewables are the fastest-growing source of world energy, with consumption increasing by around 2 percent per year. While it is envisaged that renewable energy will be the main energy source for world electricity generation it is also expected that much of the growth will be in hydroelectric power and wind power. The reason being that, other sources of renewable energy cannot be considered as viable alternatives to due to their current high per unit costs.
Over the longer term, alternative energy is expected to grow at around 4 per cent per annum. Key drivers for growth in the renewable energy sector are the declining oil reserves, global warming, energy security risks due to geopolitical instability and increasing demand in line with the growth of the world’s population. Solar and Wind are some of the cheapest sources of energy and costs are expected to fall as demand increases and supply picks up. The advancement of technology together with innovative manufacturing processes will reduce the cost of setting up power plants.
An abundance of renewable energy such as solar, wind, geothermal and hydro exists in many parts of the world. By harnessing renewable energy, countries will not only be able to provide for their own needs, but make a significant contribution to their economies by exporting electricity to other regions. Therefore, renewable Energy has the potential of meeting all world energy demands if utilized properly.