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Why the world needs to shift to clean energy

Published : Wednesday, 20 September, 2023 at 12:00 AM  Count : 302
Ranajit Mazumder

As the impacts of climate change become increasingly visible, investments in renewable energy are considered as critical to saving the planet's future. According to an International Energy Agency report, renewable energy sources such as wind, solar, and hydroelectricity presently generate a quarter of the world's power; this number is predicted to expand as part of decarbonization measures. However, there are still issues in the industry. Renewable energy sources are frequently criticized for their dependability because production varies depending on factors such as time of day, weather, and, in the case of hydroelectric power, seasonal river flows.

It is not unexpected that there has been substantial expansion in capacity in recent years given the reliance of power reserve sectors on energy storage to deal with the issue of fluctuation and instability of renewable energy sources. A system that can store energy for later use is considered a vital component of the infrastructure necessary for an energy transition.

The majority of nations in the world have national objectives for renewable energy sources as well as government support. China's 14th Five-Year Plan for Renewable Energy, which was published in June 2022, includes a target for renewable heat consumption for the first time and sets the ambitious target of raising the percentage of renewable energy used to generate power to 33% by 2025 (from around 29% in 2021). The European Commission suggested boosting the European Union's 2030 renewable energy target to 45 percent as part of the Repower EU Plan in May 2022 (which would require 1,236 GW of total constructed renewable capacity).

Renewable energy has progressed in two stages. Between 2010 and 2020, the cost of renewable energy systems in most countries went below or matched that of fossil fuels, notably for solar and wind energy. This boosted the number of new ventures significantly. However, it has now become evident that solar and wind projects have placed significant demand on national grid systems, which can generally absorb only around 30% of the new solar and wind energy generated.

Energy storage systems also require an enabling environment that makes them easier to finance and implement, which necessitates extensive collaboration from multiple parties. The Energy Storage Partnership (ESP), developed and managed by the Energy Sector Management Assistance Program (ESMAP), aims to fund 17.5 gigawatt hours (GWh) of battery storage by 2025, more than doubling the 4.5 GWh already installed across all developing nations. So far, $725 million in concessional finance has been secured for the initiative, which will result in the construction of 4.7 GWh of battery storage (current projects) and an additional 2.4 GWh (pipeline).

The ESP is actively developing a hybrid power purchase agreement (PPA) framework for solar PV and battery storage. Hybrid power purchase agreements (PPAs) are used to support all power projects since they help determine who will purchase the electricity and at what price. This offers the necessary assurance for project finance.

The capacity to store this energy has a number of benefits, one of which is that it reduces the waste of renewable resources. There are times when the amount of power generated by renewable sources exceeds what is necessary. When this happens, certain renewable generators may be obliged to limit their outputs in order to maintain the system "balanced," which means that the supply of electricity equals the demand. As a result, the opportunity to generate clean power has been effectively lost. These renewable energy sources can continue to generate electricity even if it isn't needed right now since it can be stored until it is.

Integration of energy storage systems will significantly affect the emerging globe. They will accelerate the spread of electrical access while also permitting higher use of renewable energy, contributing to the global objective of net zero carbon emissions. Energy storage is expected to be a major and critical sector by 2040, when spending will reach billions of dollars, and some research suggests that energy systems should be decarbonized to achieve climate objectives. As the globe continues its transition to a renewable future, energy storage will be critical to achieving sustainability goals. Storage research, development, and infrastructure expenditures are critical to encouraging the widespread adoption of renewable energy sources and hastening the world's energy transition.

Energy storage is critical for a renewable-energy-powered future. It bridges the gap between intermittent renewable energy generation and stable energy demand in terms of energy supply and grid dependability. Energy storage systems help to create a more sustainable and resilient energy environment by optimizing the use of renewable resources, enabling flexibility, and facilitating the integration of emerging technologies.

The long-term effects of climate change will be devastating for Bangladesh, especially because of rising floods brought on by sea level rise and storm surges. The present heat waves and floods are a sign of worsening climate conditions. The nation intends to take corrective action by reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 15% from business as usual (BAU) levels by 2030. However, there is still room for improvement in the switch to renewable energy.

Bangladesh produces a relatively small amount of electricity from renewable sources. According to World Bank research, only 1.2% of all electricity generated in 2015, compared to 11.4% in 1990, came from renewable sources. Each year, the share of renewable electricity generation in total power output declines. The most common renewable energy sources in Bangladesh right now are solar, biogas, wind, and hydroelectric electricity.

Bangladesh is among the top 20 nations in terms of GDP growth, which demands rising energy consumption, according to the World Bank. The distribution of the energy supply is 55% domestic natural gas, 27% biomass and waste in pastoral regions, and 15% imported oil, respectively. The nation's primary energy sources as of now are natural gas, other fossil fuels, and biofuels. The Russia-Ukraine war has made the existing shortage and inadequacy of fossil fuel energy resources worse, necessitating a search for cutting-edge and modern energy sources.

To meet the SDGs (sustainable development goals) by 2030 and graduate as an advanced nation by 2041, the government will need to use more energy while reducing CO2 emissions. Furthermore, the country is particularly sensitive to climate change. In this scenario, renewable energy might help to continue growth while also protecting the environment.

The writer is Political analyst and Freelance Columnist

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