The year 2022 spotlights the feasibility of the green energy transition
This spring, electricity generation from renewable energy sources peaked. In this Horizons, we draw attention to the necessity to replace fossil fuels with wind and solar energy.
The power of renewable energy is rising
On March 29, for the first time on record, wind turbines in the US produced more electricity than coal or nuclear plants. Just two weeks later, it happened again, making wind the second-biggest source of electricity, behind only natural gas. These events mark the rise of renewable energy in the US. Meanwhile, capacity of solar power is expanding as well. Solar energy costs have fallen exponentially (85% since 2010) due to economies of scale, making it the cheapest source of new energy generation. As history shows, simply adding generation capacity is not enough to facilitate an energy transition, however. The shift to renewable sources requires massive investments in infrastructure and grid storage, along with changes in energy consumption habits. For instance, in Belgium and the Netherlands, a surplus of electricity led to negative prices in the last weekend of April, encouraging consumers to use electricity and earn some money. As experts believe negative prices will become more frequent in the future, batteries to store electricity at home or in the neighborhood may become necessary parts of the energy system.
Broaden Your Horizons
- McKinsey’s latest Global Energy Perspective offers insight on the energy systems of the future.Snap released a drone that follows you around and captures video: the Pixy.
- The Verge interviewed Snap CEO Evan Spiegel and discusses how the $230 Pixy could be a ‘Trojan Horse’ for a bigger idea.
- From electrifying vehicles to decarbonizing urban buildings; Fast Company published its yearly World Changing Ideas Awards selected by its editors and reporters.
The energy transition is not a hobby
As the ongoing war between Ukraine and Russia demonstrates, the Western world has to face the fact that its dependence on fossil fuels poses a structural problem. While the US and the UK have imposed fossil fuel-related sanctions, the EU cannot say goodbye to the supply of Russian oil and gas: Russia provides more than 40% of its gas and coal and 25% of its crude oil. Besides, the EU has little infrastructure and technology in place to import energy from other locations. The immediate response of Western countries has been to compensate domestic energy users for rising energy costs while trying to source oil and gas elsewhere. Nevertheless, this does not constitute a permanent and sufficient solution. Instead, countries should use the crisis to broaden the debate about their energy system and the transition to local and renewable sources. Not by framing investments in the energy transition as “leftist hobbies” that have little to do with economic realism, but by centering the debate on energy security and economic resilience to demonstrate the urgency of moving away from fossil fuels.
Horizons is a bi-monthly Dasym Research initiative to show you how the Dasym themes have been in the news. We publish the Horizons on our website and as an email newsletter. If you wish to receive the email, sign up here.
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