EXPLORING CONCERNS ABOUT RENEWABLE ENERGY
The transition to renewable energy is an urgent priority, and its very clear there are many benefits to be excited about. In this post, we debunked the common myths that are used to create doubt about the sustainability of renewable energy – but there are also valid concerns to be addressed during the transition to renewable energy. Let’s have a look at some.
This post is a part of our ongoing #Energy101 social media series. We create accompanying blog posts alongside our social media posts for accessibility, to provide additional information, and to link our sources. Check out the series on Instagram @studentenergy, and on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.
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Global electricity demand is growing faster than renewable energy supply
Although global renewable energy capacity is increasing rapidly each year, demand for electricity is rising even faster. In fact, more electricity from fossil fuels was used in 2020 than in 2015, when the Paris Agreement was signed. Demand for coal is set to rise by 4.5% this year to meet growing electricity demand.
Ensuring renewable energy benefits communities that lack energy access.
Despite overall increased energy supply in the world, nearly 800 million people globally are still without access to reliable electricity, which means that growing demand is often uneven around the world. There is a need to ensure that an increase in clean energy supply actually means increased energy access.
Renewable energy faces mineral shortages and serious environmental and ethical concerns around mining.
Reaching the goals of the Paris Agreement would result in four times more minerals for clean energy technologies by 2040. Reaching net-zero globally by 2050, would require six times more minerals than are used today.
Supply chains for cobalt and rare earth minerals have a long history of exploitation and human rights abuses, while indigenous communities globally continue to resist hugely damaging mining projects.
While expanding our renewable energy capacity remains an urgent priority, we also need to tackle some of the enormous challenges in the sector, to ensure the transition is just and equitable.