Why the year 2020 is declared as the 'Arrival of the Green Future'?
The year 2020 was projected to be one of the warmest years due to a continuous surge in global warming. However, it turned out to be a year of pandemic, lockdown and politics. The world has definitely overlooked the undeniable silver lining in the gone year, i.e., the arrival of the green future.
The 2020s will turn out to be a decade where the world will be entering a new realm of clean and free energy, thereby putting an end to the destruction and pollution caused by fossil fuels.
As per a report by BloombergNEF, the world spent almost half a trillion dollars on renewable energy, EVs and other clean technologies in the year 2020.
Cheaper Renewable Energy
Renewable energy is now cheaper than that produced from fossil fuels. A continuous plummet is noted in the prices of battery packs for electric vehicles (EVs) and solar panels with an exponential increase in their adoption.
The average cost of Li-ion batteries which are used in EVs plummets to below $140 in 2020 from $1,100 per kWh. Some factories in China dropped their prices below $100 for the said batteries. Li-ion batteries are dropping at an inflation-adjusted rate of nearly 13% per year.
A shift to electric and hybrid vehicles
This will accelerate a shift towards electric and hybrid vehicles. This shift is already occurring in nations such as China, Europe and the United States. In Germany, the share of electric vehicles has ascended to 25% in 2020 from just 3% in 2016. Tesla is planning to house battery cells in its vehicles to dispense the weight and cost of battery packs.
Experts are of the view that the shift towards electric vehicles will clean our environment. As per a 2020 report by the American Lung Association, a complete shift towards electric vehicles will take place by 2040 and will save approximately 6,300 lives, avoiding more than 93,000 asthma attacks and 416,000 lost workday annually due to significant reductions in transportation-related pollution in the United States alone.
Reduction in carbon emissions level
In addition to the above, it will also reduce carbon emissions across the world through the use of renewable energy sources. The plunge in the price of battery packs has made electric and hybrid cars cheaper. They also have lower maintenance costs.
The batteries in these vehicles are powered with an electricity supply and include a rapidly growing share generated from renewable sources such as solar and wind. It is interesting to note that solar and wind have undercut even natural gas energy prices given equivalent conditions. A whopping 99% decline has been noted over the past four decades in the cost of solar energy.
Currently, the production of glass, concrete and steel relies on high-temperature fossil fuel furnaces but with the fall in electricity prices in the future, these industries will make a shift to electrical furnaces-- reducing the production cost along with a clean environment.
Clean drinking water
Another important parameter for the green energy future is water. At present, many parts of the world do not have access to clean drinking water. International conflicts over water are already bubbling up in South Asia, Middle East, North America and so on. However, cheap electricity can put an end to this problem as it will turn it into potable water. Solar generated electricity will also enable water purification projects in tiny communities that do not have access to the power grid.
The combination of renewables and batteries will provide a cost-effective alternative to fossil fuels. The decline in the cost of green energy cost and the flexibility of its production modes will soon allow nations like India and Africa to match the western countries in energy generation. It will also clean the environment, making the air more breathable, reduce health burdens and add years to the lives of the city's inhabitants. It will also enable students to attend school who otherwise couldn't due to pulmonary disorders.
Furthermore, renewable energy is used to extract hydrogen from water through electrolysis and is known as Green Hydrogen. Various countries across the world have pledged to reduce their future net greenhouse-gas emissions to zero-- forcing a substantive and rapid shift in their portfolios and investments.
Thus, larger economic and infrastructural changes may be needed for a greener future, putting an end to fossil fuel vehicles and the smokestacks of electricity plants powered by coal or gas. Solar, wind, tidal, and geothermal energy will comprise more of the global energy mix.