Providing global access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy sources is one of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations Agenda for Sustainable Development for the period up to 2030. One of the round tables of the VIII Global Energy Summit, held at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (Germany), was devoted to this issue.
Future Global Trends
In recent years, the share of population across the globe that consumes electricity has increased from 78% to 87%. However, about one billion people around the world do not have access to electricity. Given that demand for energy continues to grow, its satisfaction requires significant investment in infrastructure, system integration and decisive political action. Martha Bonifert, the member of the Global Energy Prize International Award Committee, believes that in this case, the share of RES in the world energy balance would reach 50% by 2035, and carbon emissions would be reduced due to lower demand for coal.
Scientists from the Lappeenranta University of Technology and the German Institute for Economic Research have calculated how energy sector would look like until the middle of the century: by 2050, the Sun will generate 69% of the energy consumed on the planet and 31% of energy will come from wind and other renewable energy sources.
The renewable energy sector can grow rapidly in the coming decades. The sun is the most widespread and cheapest source of energy. The wind power facilities will meet 18% of energy needs, biomass – 6%, hydropower – 3%, and geothermal energy – 2%. In total, RES will account for 90% of primary energy production by 2050 compared to 22% in 2015.
In the electricity sector, solar installations will produce 73% of electricity. The wind power share will first increase to 43% by 2030, and then fall to 20%. The authors of the report also expect widespread occurrence of energy storage systems. Such accumulators will satisfy up to 23% of global energy needs.
Electricity cost will decrease slightly by 2030 – from € 54 to € 53. Moreover, other positive economic effects are expected – for example, 22 million of new jobs will appear in the solar energy sector. It is worth reminding that about 19 million people work in the energy sector worldwide with 50% of them employed in coal industry – in case of a global shift to renewable energy, these jobs will disappear. In addition, experts believe that if most countries start seriously fighting climate change, loss in the value of oil and gas giants such as Shell and BP can make up 95%.
The main conclusion of the report is that until the middle of the century, with the already existing technologies, it is possible to convert the world energy into renewable energy sources and to avoid the global warming above 1.5 ° C.
The Global “Green” Energy Today
According to the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), currently RES generate about 33% of the global electricity. The largest “green” power source in the world is hydropower with almost 1200 GW. The remaining capacities are: wind power – 564 GW; solar power – 480 GW; bioenergy – 121 GW; geothermal – 13 GW; wave power – 500 MW.
In 2018, renewable energy grew worldwide by 171 GW – this increase is almost 8% more compared to 2017. According to Bloomberg, 2018 became the fifth consecutive year, when global investments in green energy exceeded $ 300 billion and amounted to $ 332.1 billion (only 8% less than in 2017).
Development of the renewable energy sector in Ukraine
Bloomberg published a rating of countries that attracted more than USD 2 mln investments in “green” projects (including development of smart grids, etc.) in 2018. With USD 2.4 billion of investments, Ukraine was among such countries.
According to Ukrinform, total capacity of renewable energy sources in Ukraine reached 2 GW in 2018, 71% of which are solar power plants. Last year, the objects of renewable energy produced 2.8 billion kWh of electricity or about 2% of total production. Total capacity of renewable energy facilities that are to be put into operation during 2019 is predicted to increase by 25% in comparison with 2018.
To recap, the Energy Strategy of Ukraine by 2035 presupposes a significant increase in RES (up to 25%) of total primary energy supply.