Post COVID-19:Why member countries should consider renewable energy alternative power sources-UN

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From: Kazeem Biriowo

The United Nations(UN) has called on member countries to prioritise renewable energy as alternative power source, saying it is not only cost effective, but would also bring the world closer to meeting the Paris Agreement goals.

This was stated in a new report titled:Global Trends in Renewable Energy Investment 2020 released from the UN Environment Programme (UNEP).

It said with the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the fossil fuel industry, there is a need for countries to consider clean energy in their economic recovery packages.

The report says, based on the 2019 analysis on investment trends, and clean energy, conducted by Frankfurt School-UNEP Collaborating Centre and BloombergNEF (BNEF), the commitments made by countries and corporations for the next decade is equivalent to 826 GW of new non-hydro renewable power capacity.

This according to the report, is estimated to be around $1 trillion, by 2030.

“Getting on track to limiting global temperature rise to under 2 degrees Celsius – the main goal of the Paris Agreement – would require the addition of around 3,000GW by 2030, the exact amount depending on the technology mix chosen. The planned investments also fall far below the USD 2.7 trillion committed to renewables during the last decade,” it stated.

However, the report revealed that the renewable energy capacity, excluding large hydro-electric dams of more than 50 MW, grew by 184 GW in 2019.

“This highest-ever annual addition was 20 GW, or 12 percent, more than the new capacity commissioned in 2018. Yet the dollar investment in 2019 was just 1 per cent higher than the previous year, at USD 282.2 billion.

It also stated that the cost of installing renewable energy has hit new lows saying:”The all-in, or levelized, cost of electricity continues to fall for wind and solar, thanks to technology improvements, economies of scale and fierce competition in auctions. Costs for electricity from new solar photovoltaic plants in the second half of 2019 were 83 per cent lower than a decade earlier.”

Also, Inger Andersen, Executive Director of UNEP stressed that if governments take advantage of;” the ever-falling price tag of renewables to put clean energy at the heart of COVID-19 economic recovery, they can take a big step towards a healthy natural world, which is the best insurance policy against global pandemics.”

He added that nearly 78 percent of the net new GW of generating capacity added globally in 2019 was in wind, solar, biomass and waste, geothermal and small hydro.

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