What is renewable energy?

DID YOU KNOW:

Across nations, 8 out of 10 people believe the world should run entirely on renewable energy*

*Source: Green Energy Barometer

Renewable energy is energy derived from natural sources which are either limitless in supply or replenish at a faster rate than that at which they’re consumed.

Sometimes referred to as clean or green energy, it emits significantly fewer greenhouse gases compared to fossil fuels and is often carbon-neutral. 

The fastest-growing renewable energy sources are:

  • Solar
  • Offshore wind
  • Onshore wind

Each of these sources are competitive and scalable green solutions, playing an important role in transforming the global energy system. 

Green power consumption has increased rapidly over recent years, with the generating cost of renewables becoming competitive with fossil fuels at the same time as public opinion shifts ever further in their favour. 

 
  • Renewable energy helps fight climate change
    Renewable energy helps fight climate change


    The global transition to renewable energy is the best way for global economies to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050 and keep global temperature increase under 1.5°C. That's because renewable energy emits significantly fewer greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide. According to a report from the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), over 90 % of the solutions in the global decarbonisation effort will involve renewable energy by 2050.

  • Renewable energy is available in an unlimited supply
    Renewable energy is available in an unlimited supply


    Renewable energy is exactly that – renewable. This means it’ll never run out; the sun will always shine, and the wind will always blow. And while some renewables – like wind and solar – have variable outputs, battery storage technologies make it possible to balance the electricity supply and create a more flexible and reliable grid system.

  • Renewable energy creates new jobs
    Renewable energy creates new jobs

    Businesses all over the world have now realised that sustainable development is key to success, which has created a growing number of well-paid, skilled jobs in the renewable energy sector – from manufacturing and construction to operations and beyond. An IRENA report predicts that the renewable energy sector could create more than 40 million new jobs by 2050.

  • Renewable energy strengthens communities and economies
    Renewable energy strengthens communities and economies


    Renewable energy plays an important role in strengthening communities and local economies. For example, it can provide an additional source of stable income for rural landowners and farmers, and significant tax revenue. Check out how offshore wind brought the small town of Grimsby in the UK new opportunities and new hope after years of post-industrial decline.

  • Renewable energy is cheaper than fossil fuels
    Renewable energy is cheaper than fossil fuels

    The tipping point has finally been reached: power from renewables is now cheaper than that from fossil fuels in two thirds of the world. Ongoing technological advances and scale have dropped the cost of renewable energy generation compared with fossil-based electricity generation. This is great news for energy consumers, and even better news for our planet.
  • Renewable energy is better for human health
    Renewable energy is better for human health

    Climate change is one of the greatest health threats of the 21st century, leading to 8.7 million deaths globally in 2018, according to new research. The burning of fossil fuels creates greenhouse gases as well as harmful particles that pollute our air and have the potential to cause serious health conditions, including asthma, bronchitis, and cancer. By contrast, renewable energy sources produce little to no air pollution.
  • Renewable energy can expand energy access in developing countries
    Renewable energy can expand energy access in developing countries

    Did you know that energy access is an area of great inequality? According to IRENA figures, over one billion people lack access to electricity, while a further one billion have an unreliable supply. For developing countries, renewable energy such as solar power has the potential to offer decentralised solutions that improve energy access and reliability, while creating local jobs.
  • Renewable technologies can enhance energy security
    Renewable technologies can enhance energy security

    Energy security, defined by the International Energy Agency as ‘the uninterrupted availability of energy sources at an affordable price’, is affected by a wide range of factors – from political instability to manipulation of energy supplies, as well as accidents and natural disasters. For countries that currently rely on imported fossil-based energy, which can fluctuate in price, renewable energy can promote a more sustainable and secure model of electricity supply.