The global lockdown that is the COVID-19 pandemic has affected every aspect of our lives, our jobs, the economy, and society as we know it. This crisis has also significantly impacted the world’s transition toward renewable energy. In this blog post, we will discuss how the renewable energy transition has been affected, and how renewable sources can even help us in times of crisis.
How the transition to renewable energy has been affected
Lockdown measures around the globe have led to a decrease in energy consumption. This drop has pushed fossil fuel generators into a difficult position, but in comparison, renewable energy operators have faced lower economic impacts. This is due to the fact that in many national grids, renewable outputs are dispatched first, and as a result, many grids have seen renewable energy penetration reach levels not expected for a decade. However, there is a risk that if oil prices remain low, this may have an impact on the electric vehicle market or discourage the use of renewable energy such as biofuels.1
In an article from CBC News2, it was suggested that the job losses and economic turmoil that has affected the oil industry could be offset by a more “aggressive shift” toward renewable energy and other sustainable infrastructure. Since the 2008 peak, the price of oil has steadily declined, indicating that the COVID-19 pandemic has only shed more light on the issues that the oil industry continues to face. Long-term, oil will not be sustainable. Francesco La Camera, director-general of the International Renewable Energy Agency, said in a statement that “stimulus and recovery measures in response to the pandemic must foster economic development and job creation, promote social equity and welfare, and put the world on a climate-safe path.” The transition to renewable energy is the path we need to follow.
Can renewable energy can help reduce negative impacts of crises like COVID-19?
In an article released from the UN Environment Program3, it has revealed that there has been more research that would suggest the world can build back to create a healthier, more resilient, prosperous, and decarbonized world after the current pandemic crisis. Widespread adoption of renewable energy technologies would create employment opportunities. If we were to advance a renewable energy transformation, it would meet international climate goals, boost economic growth, create millions of jobs, and improve human welfare.
We have already seen some positive impacts of social distancing, and not all of them are virus-related. Because less people are travelling – whether it be by bus, plane, train, or car – smog has cleared up in many urban areas, a hole in the Earth’s ozone layer has closed, and carbon emissions have been the lowest they’ve ever been in decades. If we globally adapted to the renewable energy transition, we could see these impacts and many more last long-term to improve economic and environmental welfare.
Although the COVID-19 crisis is holding the world at a stand-still, it has allowed us to see the unsustainability of the oil industry, the positive environmental impacts of social distancing, and the push toward mitigating climate change. If it has taught us anything, it is that we all need to stick together to protect our communities, our health, our economies, and our Earth. To do that, we need to commit to transitioning to renewable energy resources. This transition will not only benefit the global economy, but our health and wellbeing as well as protecting the environment.
If your organization is looking to help make this change and have a project in mind, contact N-Sci Technologies today and we will help design a renewable energy solution to fit your needs. We offer many services to help you reach your goals, and encourage you to see our What We Do page to learn more. Contact us by email, phone, Facebook, Twitter (@NSciTech), LinkedIn, or Instagram (@nscitechnologies) to get started!
1Williamson, Michael & Zaman, Anis. (April 27, 2020). COVID-19 Crisis Reinforces the Importance of the Sustainable Energy Transition. Retrieved from the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific: https://www.unescap.org/blog/covid-19-crisis-reinforces-importance-sustainable-energy-transition
2Warick, Jason. (April 19, 2020). Renewable Energy, Retrofits Touted as Job-Creating Alternative to Oil Sector Devastation. Retrieved from CBC News: https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/saskatoon/renewable-energy-retrofits-touted-as-job-creating-alternative-to-oil-sector-devastation-1.5537310
3UN Environment Program. (April 29, 2020). Transforming the Energy System – a Post – COVID-19 Win-Win for People and Planet. Retrieved from unenvironment.org: https://www.unenvironment.org/news-and-stories/story/transforming-energy-system-post-covid-19-win-win-people-and-planet