66 percent of global demand: Study: Green electricity could become the main source of energy

66 percent of global demand: Study: Green electricity could become the main source of energy

66 percent of global demand
Study: Green electricity can become the main source of energy

Thanks to technological advances, solar and wind power are becoming more and more competitive. According to a recent study by climate researchers in Potsdam, two-thirds of global energy consumption could be covered by green electricity by 2050. However, shipping and aviation remain a challenge.

According to a study, electricity from the sun or wind could cover two-thirds of the worldwide energy consumption by 2050. According to a study by the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK), “rapid technological advances” in renewable energy are leading to a “fundamental upheaval” in global energy use. Accordingly, renewable energy has become cheaper at “breathtaking speed” and is opening up the possibility of an “electrification era”.

In the past ten years alone, solar power prices have dropped by 85 percent, said study author and PIK researcher Gunnar Lüderer. For the foreseeable future, costs are expected to decline further. “This development has the potential to fundamentally revolutionize energy systems,” Luderer explained. Computer simulations suggest that electricity, combined with global CO2 pricing, will become the cheapest form of energy by 2050 and, in the long term, could even cover three quarters of total demand by the end of the century.

The use of electrical energy is becoming more and more diverse

The reasons for this lie mainly in rapid technological advances in the production of solar and wind power, but also in the end use of electric energy: “The cost of solar or wind power per kilowatt hour is steadily falling, while battery technology is used.” Cars, for example, improved at great speed,” Luderer explained. Heat pumps use less energy per unit of heat than any type of fossil fuel boiler and are becoming increasingly competitive not only in buildings but also in industrial applications.

Co-author Sylvia Madedu explained: “You can electrify more end uses than you think, and in these cases you can actually reduce energy consumption compared to today.” She cited steel production as an example: melting recycled steel with electricity reduces the total process energy requirement and reduces the intensity of carbon per ton produced. According to the study, more than half of all industrial energy needs could be electrified by 2050.

Challenges in Shipping and Aviation

However, some bottlenecks remained in electrification, as emphasized by the researchers. He mentioned long-distance air travel, shipping, and the production of basic chemical materials using fossil fuels as raw materials. Here, however, renewable solutions are conceivable, for example in aviation so-called e-fuels – hydrogen-based fuels that generate electricity from renewable energy.

Lüderer urged politicians to comprehensively regulate fossil fuels in all regions and around the world. Above all, CO2 pricing can ensure that the age of renewable electricity arrives in time to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees, he said.

According to the information, simulations done by researchers show that even if climate protection is not strengthened, the share of electricity will double during the century. In order to achieve the goals of the Paris Agreement and limit global warming to below two degrees, however, decisive and global political coordination is of vital importance, Luderer explained.

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