The reduction of CO2 emissions and the minimization of the carbon footprint have become main objectives of industry and governments. The industrial sector alone presents more than 12 Gt of global CO2 emissions. So companies have stepped up efforts to transition to a neutral economy and the green energy sector, mainly renewable electricity, has grown tremendously.
This growth was essential to achieve some of the sustainable development goals defined by the United Nations, primarily stopping environmental degradation.
Indeed, renewable energy is seen by world governors as one of the potential solutions to climate and security challenges: climate change, energy security and sustainable growth. In 2017, the share of renewable electricity at EU level reached 30.7%, which is more than double of the level of 2005. Hydropower accounted for 35% of the total renewable electricity produced, 34% for wind power, 12% for solid biomass and 11% for solar photovoltaic systems.
However, this sector still poses concerns about negative prices for electricity produced from intermittent sources such as wind and solar power and the success of key sustainability goals.
Reduction of greenhouse gas emissions
The European Economic Area estimated that the growth in renewable energy production resulted in a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions of 543 Mt between 2005 and 2018, of which 76% came from renewable electricity alone.
Most of these changes have taken place in energy-intensive industrial sectors as the increase in renewable electricity has reduced dependence on fossil fuels.
Renewable electricity pricing
In general, increased demand for renewable electricity in the EU has led to an increase in electricity prices. This can be explained by an increase in the investment cost and the cost of the balancing requirement imposed by the intermittence of the electricity grid.
Nevertheless, the fight against price increases is achievable, as researchers said, thanks to a working synergy on the objectives of sustainable development, essentially, strong demand for clean energy, innovation in infrastructure and responsible production and consumption.
Actually, high renewable energy prices are undermining the accessibility of clean energy and they also have implications for economic growth and consumption and production patterns, which may ultimately affect environmental and climate goals.