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A missed opportunity in the renewable energy process

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Alarm bells are ringing in the area of ​​renewable energies. One of the consequences of the gas crisis and the war in Ukraine is that the energy transition has slowed down as planned and “is not growing as fast as expected”. It is included in the Global Renewable Energy Status 2022 (GSR 2022) report unveiled on Wednesday by REN21, the international policy network dedicated to building a renewable energy future. The bottom line is that an opportunity to build on the momentum to fight the pandemic has been missed, making it unlikely that the world will meet key climate targets this decade and that “extra efforts” will be required to do so.

The GSR, presented last Wednesday at the 25th edition of the International Energy and Environment Fair (Genera) in Madrid, with the participation of President Pedro Sánchez and the Third Vice-President and Minister for the Ecological Transition, Teresa Ribera, x-rays every year the Progress of renewable energies worldwide. The 2022 report, the seventeenth consecutive edition, confirms the experts’ forecasts: despite record absolute increases in renewables, they were not enough to cover the increase in electricity consumption and the global share of final energy consumption stagnating (rising from 10.6% in in 2009 to 11.7% in 2019).

The report points out that the share of renewable energy in heating and cooling increased from 8.9% to 11.2% between 2009 and 2019, while progress in transport is worrying (from 2.4% to 3.7% ), as it accounts for almost a third of global energy consumption.

The study is currently criticizing the fact that, despite climate change commitments to achieve zero greenhouse gas emissions, governments have continued to offer subsidies for fossil fuel production and consumption as the first option to deal with the impact of the energy crisis signed at COP26 2050, whose final statement highlighted the need for the reduce the use of coal. And worst of all, they have reduced support for renewable energy. The energy increase was met by fossil fuels, which in turn led to a CO2 increase of more than 2,000 million tons in 2021, a year that also saw the sharpest increase in energy prices since the first oil crisis in 1973, with a heavy impact on 136 import-dependent countries.

As much as Rana Adib, CEO of REN21, says the old energy regime is collapsing, things are not going as she would like. “The answer lies in renewables, we need to promote the share of renewables and prioritize them in economic and industrial policy, not fight fire with fire,” he stresses. “Investing in renewable energy avoids the risk of inflation with energy at a fixed price,” he added. “We are calling for short- and long-term goals and plans with clear dates to end fossil fuels,” said REN21 President Arthouros Zervos.

In this sense, the study highlights that countries with a higher share of renewable energies in total consumption enjoy greater independence and energy security. In addition to Spain, this includes Portugal, Denmark, Ireland and Iceland as well as 1,500 cities, i.e. 30% of the urban population.

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Spain stands out for setting a new record for photovoltaic solar installations in 2021, with 4.9 gigawatts (GW) of solar capacity added in 2021, up 44% from 2020, making its total capacity up 18.5 GW increased. In terms of new projects, Spain is second only to Germany in Europe and seventh worldwide. Likewise, it is the second largest European country in terms of total wind power capacity (28.2 GW) after Germany and fifth in the world.

It also highlights Pedro Sánchez’s government’s plan to allocate €6,900 million to renewable energy and related technologies (including renewable hydrogen, storage and electric mobility).

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Source elpais.com

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