World today is witnessing a major change in terms of shifting energy portfolio of nations. While most of the high and middle-income countries like South Africa, Brazil, India, China, US, and Japan are expanding their renewable energy; the low-income countries like Nigeria, Kenya and Angola are also gradually changing their energy portfolio.
2014 witnessed rapid expansion of renewable energy after a slowdown for two years. The huge drop in oil price gave enough breathing space to the government which can now divert extra-savings (from the lower import bills) to expand renewable resources. Given the inelastic nature of energy requirements and huge fluctuations in global oil prices over years (due to external factors), ensuring energy security for a nation is key to its economic development. Energy-importing countries like India and South Africa are expanding their renewable energy sources to reduce the Current Account Deficit (CAD). However, countries like China and US are expanding renewable energy so as to reduce their carbon footprint. The sad incident of Fukushima nuclear disaster has compelled Japan to look forward to solar energy to maintain its energy security. The nation is aiming to double its renewable energy output by 2030.
“The Green Rush by various nations is making future of humankind look more optimistic.”
China, India, and Japan are experiencing a boom in the solar panel installation. Japan is currently converting its abandoned golf courses into solar power plants and is building the giant battery to store solar power. Given land scarcity, Japan is currently building floating solar systems in Yamakura dam. The floating solar plant in Kato city is expected to generate 3300MW of electricity annually.
India has target installing 20,000 MW of grid-connected solar power by 2022. It is targeting states like Rajasthan, Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Ladakh for building ultra-mega solar power projects. The falling prices of Photovoltaic (PV) cells in the international market have helped India to gain an advantage in this sector. It is estimated that prices of PV cells are going to decline by another 40% in next 3 years which is going to make this sector more profitable in the future. Apart from Solar Power, India is also expanding its hydel projects and wind power projects at a very fast pace. India is currently the 5th largest producer of Wind energy and has potential to produce around 4000 GW of energy; thanks to the Indian States with huge offshore wind potentials like Kerala, Goa, Tamil Nadu, Gujarat and Karnataka South Africa has been investing its renewable energy rapidly. Gujarat Solar Park constructed by Gujarat government is the largest solar park in Asia.
In 2014, Brazil ($7.6 billion), India ($7.4 billion) and South Africa ($5.5 billion) were all in the top 10 of investing countries, while Mexico, Chile, Indonesia, Kenya, and Turkey were all in the $1 billion-plus club and several others were challenging to join them. South Africa is planning to thrice its investments in solar and wind energy in next 5 years. Booming economy of this BRICS nation has forced it to change its energy policy and ensure its energy security.
China while dealing with pollution has shifted focus on renewable energy. China has decided to close all its coal power thermal power plants by 2030. While hydroelectricity and wind power forms the major part of the renewable energy, it is also expanding its solar and geothermal energy so as to fulfill its dream of generating more than 50% of energy from renewable energy sources.
Another trend that caught the notice of global investor is that the developing nations are catching up with the developed nations in terms of investment in renewable energy. 2014, experienced an almost equal investment in renewable energy from both developed and developing nation.
The last decade has witnessed great importance being given to renewable energy sector in both developing and developed countries. However, the way developing countries are investing in renewables is as good as developed nations. Renewable energy is the future of ensuring energy security of any nation given that, fossil fuels aren’t going to last for long. With the technological advancement, the cost of production of renewable energy has been going down drastically making these projects financially viable. This Green Rush by various nations is making future of humankind look more optimistic.
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