The Renewable Energy Institute (REI) has announced the 2020s as the Decade of Renewable Energy,
following the critical shift from fossil fuel and stronger than ever evidence of climate change effects and the ongoing uptake of Renewable Energy Technology to resolve climate change issues. Upskilling in Renewable Energy now presents vital opportunities for professionals to tackle the world’s climate crisis while also progressing their own career and development.
As the 2010s draws to a close and we head into the 2020s, the media is dominated by stories highlighting the devastating effects that climate change is having on the environment on a global scale, from long-lasting heatwaves and droughts to record-breaking wildfires and intensified flooding. Nowhere is safe from the impact of these rising temperatures and as the effects become increasingly difficult to ignore, governments and businesses around the world are under pressure to implement more aggressive targets on carbon reduction.
The UN has stated that countries need to cut emissions by 45% by 2030, stop subsidising fossil fuels and stop construction of new coal plants from 2020. If we are going to achieve the goals set by the UN, the 2020s needs to be an international Decade of Renewable Energy and the REI will continue to offer its leading training courses in Renewable Energy both in the classroom and online to support this.
The UN has stated that countries need to cut emissions by 45% by 2030, stop subsidising fossil fuels and stop construction of new coal plants from 2020.
When 196 nations signed the Paris Agreement in 2015, it was seen as an historic moment in the war on climate change. However, little progress has been made since, and at the Madrid Climate Change Conference – COP25 – in December 2019, the 190+ countries involved failed to come to an agreement on emissions targets or come up with a concrete plan of action to limit global heating.
Moving forward into a new decade, we need to ensure that Renewable Energy is at the top of everybody’s agenda and that there is a skilled workforce in the Renewable Energy sector ready to implement change. Nearly every country needs to increase its NDC (Nationally Determined Contributions) targets immediately and back this up by actions, as the emissions gap needs to close by 2030, or it is very plausible that the goal of a well-below 2°C temperature increase will be out of reach.
The REI trains around 5000 individuals a year, from over 150 countries, increasing their knowledge and skills in Renewable Energy and equipping them to develop better practices in their current workplace or start a career in the Renewable Energy sector.
Moving forward into a new decade, we need to ensure that Renewable Energy is at the top of everybody’s agenda and that there is a skilled workforce in the Renewable Energy sector ready to implement change.
Replacing fossil fuels with Renewable Energy is crucial in order to stop greenhouse emissions and secure the planet’s future. The latest research shows that if we act now, we can reduce carbon waste within the next 12 years and halt the increase in average temperature to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels. Immediate action is necessary to end global warming and Renewable Energy will play a vital role in this.
Reports show that Renewable Energy jobs are rapidly rising in numbers, as more companies are developing green sustainability plans for the future. The REI, collaborating closely with the United Nations (UNEP) to promote best practice in Renewable Energy and Technology, is pleased to confirm that the interest in upskilling in Renewable Energy has intensified in the past years. The 2020s are clearly set to be the Decade of Renewable Energy where we will see a substantially positive progression in Renewable Energy.
The REI, collaborating closely with the United Nations (UNEP) to promote best practice in Renewable Energy and Technology, is pleased to confirm that the interest in upskilling in Renewable Energy has intensified in the past years.
Not only is there global growth in the amount of Renewable Energy employment opportunities, the areas of employment are also becoming more diversified. Jobs that are currently advertised range from architects to project managers, analysts, technicians and engineers, as well as business developers and legal directors. The positions available are both for Renewable Energy in general, as well as for specific domains such as Solar Power, Wind Power, and Energy Storage. As the demand for skilled professionals in Green Energy expands, salaries in the industry are predicted to rise. Professionals with experience in the fossil fuel industry are changing career to Renewables, making use of their transferable skills, combined with the knowledge gained from Renewable Energy training.
2019 sees the end of the warmest decade on record. It culminates in the five year period from 2015-2019 having the highest average temperatures ever recorded, alongside a 4% rise in greenhouse gas emissions, despite 196 countries signing the Paris Agreement in 2015 and committing to cutting greenhouse gas emissions and tackling climate change.
There were also a lot of positive developments in Renewable Energy in the past 10 years which we need to take forward and build upon in the 2020s. Research into new technologies and energy infrastructures will play a key role, as will ensuring that governments and organisations are able to upskill their current workforce and have access to new recruits with training in Renewable Energy.
According to the REI’s partner the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), 2010-2019 saw renewable capacity quadruple (from 414 GW to about 1,650 GW), which included a staggering rise in solar capacity to more than 26 times the 2009 level (from 25 GW to an estimated 663 GW). In 2018 investment in renewable energy reached a high of USD 272.9 billion, which was triple the investment in fossil fuel generation, but this is still far from the investment that we need to ensure effective developments in renewable energy.
Research into new technologies and energy infrastructures will play a key role, as will ensuring that governments and organisations are able to upskill their current workforce and have access to new recruits with training in Renewable Energy.
UNEP also states that the cost of generating electricity from renewable sources fell dramatically over the decade, with the levelized cost of electricity generated by solar photovoltaics is down 81 per cent since 2009 and down 46 per cent for onshore wind generated electricity.
Figures from UNEP also show that renewables generated 12.9 % of global electricity in 2018, which meant that there were 2 billion tonnes fewer carbon dioxide emissions than if 100% had been generated from fossil fuel. This is a positive outcome, but one that we need to build upon urgently and increase dramatically over the next decade.
Another positive from the last decade is that the EU is on track to meet its greenhouse gas emissions reduction target for 2020, and has now put in place key laws and measures to achieve its climate and energy targets for 2030.
Although there is still a lot of work to be done, there are lots of countries and cities around the world that are already making huge steps in cutting carbon emissions by turning to Renewable Energy, investing in new technologies and improving infrastructure. You can read about a few of them here, and we will be sharing more positive stories as the Decade of Renewable Energy progresses.
New York – A Zero Emissions Ambition
With the goal to achieve a 100% Renewable Energy supply by 2040, New York City has ambitious plans for a large expansion of Solar and Wind Power, combining these renewable energy sources with Energy Storage. By 2030, NYC aims to lower its carbon emissions by 40%, exchanging fossil fuel for clean energy sources. To achieve this, the city is looking into complementing the main sources with energy from other areas such as Wave and Hydro Power, and offshore Wind Power. The transition to Renewable Energy is done by involving all actors in society, from government agencies to representatives from the private sector. The short-term changes that must be made require expertise and planning, with a specific understanding of how the Renewables industry works. An important element in New York City’s zero carbon emissions vision is Electric Vehicles. Through incentives and tax reductions, citizens are encouraged to change to EVs, with the plan to dramatically cut down on pollution causing smog and acid rain. The transition to EVs is estimated to provide 30,000 new employment opportunities in the city.
The Gambia – The Growth of Renewables
The Gambia is the only country apart from Morocco where the sustainability targets fulfil the 1.5°C Paris Agreement goal. Although 98% of The Gambia’s energy supply is currently provided by fossil fuels, the overall energy capacity of 100MW per year in the country is nowhere near the steep levels of energy consumption in many other countries. In 2018, the UK’s yearly consumption of 44.4 GW was more than 400 times higher than The Gambia’s. With less than half of the country’s population having access to electricity, The Gambia plans to expand the national energy network and increasing the quota of Green Energy from 2% to 40%. Changing to Renewable Energy will be more financially beneficial as importing fossil fuels is an expensive cost for the country. In order to support The Gambia’s progress, the European Investment Bank, the European Union and the World Bank are funding a program which is to provide Renewable Energy to all public schools and health facilities. The idea is to work both with large-scale energy production through Solar Plants, as well as local energy provision through mini solar kits, directly connected to schools and rural houses.
The ACT – Leading by Example
Australia as a whole is currently falling far behind on targets set at the Paris Agreement in 2015, but there are positive actions being taken by several Australian States who have set themselves more ambitious targets than the country as a whole. One example is the ACT (Australian Capital Territory), which on 1st January 2020 will become the first Australian jurisdiction to achieve a transition from a fossil fuel based electricity supply to 100% renewable electricity. The majority of the ACT’s renewable electricity will be generated by wind farms in South Australia, Victoria and NSW, while a smaller fraction is coming from solar farms within the ACT itself.
Many other countries have set targets to follow suit over the next decade with over 107 countries, provinces and cities setting 100% renewable electricity targets, with an average target year of 2033.
Costa Rica – Harnessing the Power
For the past 4 years, Costa Rica has generated 98% of its electricity from renewable sources, meaning that it’s renewable electricity target of 100% by 2021 seems very achievable. Its primary source for renewable electricity is hydropower, with nearly 75% generated from this source, with the remaining 25% mainly generated by wind power and geothermal power. Not every country has access to these same resources for generating renewable electricity, but it certainly demonstrates what can be achieved with the right motivation, resources and skills.
As part of their ambitious National Decarbonisation Plan (NDP), Costa Rica has set targets for introducing more electric vehicles across its public transportation networks and have also extended a long running moratorium on oil extraction and exploitation, in place since 2002, until the end of 2050.
The REI has pronounced the 2020s to be the Decade of Renewable Energy. In order to ensure the planet’s survival, upskilling in Renewable Energy is essential for every organisation, company and country. Study with the REI and make the most of the Decade of Renewable Energy. A sustainable future begins here, with global collective efforts to make our environment brighter, cleaner and greener.
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