With thirty countries around the world pledging to go carbon neutral, renewable energy is centre stage. It’s clean and green, and harnesses natural sources – and whether it’s solar power, wind power, geothermal power, hydro power or tidal power, it can help us tackle many of the world’s most pressing problems.
Unfortunately Australia is not at present one of these thirty countries, although every state and territory has independently committed to carbon neutrality by at least 2050.
Despite this, committing to renewable energy helps combat global warming, climate change, air pollution, and ocean acidity. It also helps us reduce our carbon footprints, and it even creates new jobs.
In general, renewable energy leads to healthier, more sustainable lives. And thankfully, it’s more popular and affordable than ever before, right across the globe.
These 20 facts reveal the huge potential of renewables. And as we look to the future, they highlight just how much it’s developed, and how powerful it can be in shaping an energy system that’s fit for the 21st century.
- Wind energy is one of Australia’s main and most affordable sources of renewable energy, generating 7 percent of the nation’s electricity from 94 wind farms.
- In 2020, 27.7% of Australia’s total electricity generation came from renewable energy, the first time Australia has ever had more than a quarter of energy produced from renewable sources. This still lags behind other modern countries like the UK which have over 47%.
- According to Bloomberg, global investment in clean energy hit just over $500 billion in 2020, with an increase of 9% compared to 2019.
- Renewable energy creates more jobs for women. A recent report shows that women hold 32% of renewables jobs, compared to just 21% in fossil fuel roles.
- Siemens built the first-ever commercial offshore wind turbine 30 years ago. Its blades were a modest 5 metres long, and it created just 30 kilowatts of power. But the latest model (since becoming Siemens Gamesa) is immense – with 108-metre-long blades, on a 222-meter diameter rotor. Just one turbine can generate enough electricity to power around 18,000 homes every year.
- Hydropower is the most widely-used renewable power source. It accounts for more than 54% of the global renewable power generation capacity, and 18% of the world’s total power generation.
- Costa Rica is a world leader in renewable energy. In 2017, this small Central American nation lasted 300 consecutive days on renewable energy alone.
- Switching to wind, water and solar worldwide could eliminate 4 to 7 million deaths from air pollution every year.
- Just to give you an idea of the tremendous potential of solar power – every hour, the sun beams enough solar energy onto Earth to keep everyone on our planet supplied with electricity for an entire year. Pretty incredible eh?
- Between 2007 and 2017, the world's renewable electricity sourced from solar power increased a whopping 4,300 percent.
- Romans were the very first to use geothermal energy to heat their homes, building systems that encouraged warm air to move under floors and inside walls.
- A world record was set in 1990, when a solar-powered airplane flew across the United States in stages, using no fuel at all.
- Renewable energy currently creates 5 times more jobs than fossil fuels. The number of renewable energy jobs grew from 1.7 million in 2004, to 10.3 million in 2017, and 11.5 million in 2019. This is according to the annual review from International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA).
- In 1921 Albert Einstein was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics for his discovery of the photoelectric effect – which led to the invention of solar panels.
- The renewable energy industry is growing fast. By 2025, the global market is expected to be worth $1,512.3.6 bn!
- The Itaipu Dam in Paraguay creates 76% of the country’s electricity, and 17% of the electricity consumed in Brazil (displacing 67.5 million tonnes of CO2 every year).
- Iceland is the only country in the world where renewable sources generate 100% of its electricity and heat.
- All the world’s power could be generated by renewables by 2050 if the right political, financial and societal decisions are made. And fast.
- NASA has been developing space technology that could give the world’s population affordable green energy from an unlikely source – the moon! Their Watts on the Moon project is inviting ideas to solve the tasks of storage, sourcing and managing energy, all from our nearest neighbour.
- China built 100GW-worth of wind farms in 2020 – that’s more than the rest of the world built in 2019! These wind farms alone could generate enough power for almost 3 times the number of homes in the UK.
What’s so cool about renewable energy?
Here are 3 cool things about renewable energy:
- The first is in the name. Renewable means it will never run out! Unlike fossil fuels, which are depleting our planet more each day, renewable energy is in abundant, neverending supply. Because it’s created by natural resources like the sun, wind and water, we’ll always be able to keep making energy.
- It protects the environment. There are no nasty carbon emissions produced by green energy. This means less air pollution and global warming.
- It saves us money. Renewable energy plants, once built, need less maintenance. And as we have our own sun and wind in the UK (maybe more of the latter than the former!), we don’t need to import energy from elsewhere.
To learn more about our 100% GreenPower plan, visit our Going Green page.
What you can do to drive a greener future
Just by joining OVO, you can play an important role in the nation’s carbon-zero journey. For a start, we’ll help you reduce your carbon footprint, by supplying you with guaranteed 100% carbon neutral energy, with an option for 100% GreenPower renewable energy.
Switching to OVO is easy. Get a quote in seconds, and start saving today!