"Renewable energy sources” are any energy from a source that is not consumed and depleted when used, such as the sun or wind. In other words, we can use an unlimited amount of the sun or wind’s energy because its supply is infinite.
In opposition to Fossil energies such as fuels - coal, oil and gas. In this case they are non-renewable resources that take hundreds of millions of years to form. Fossil fuels, when consumed to produce energy, cause harmful greenhouse gas emissions, such as carbon dioxide.
Generating renewable energy creates much lower emissions than burning fossil fuels. Transitioning from fossil fuels to renewable energy is key to addressing the climate crisis.
On the economic plan, renewable energies are now cheaper in most countries, and generate three times more jobs than fossil fuels.
Renewable energy sources are all around us
About 80 percent of the global population lives in countries that are net-importers of fossil fuels -- that’s about 6 billion people who are dependent on fossil fuels from other countries, which makes them vulnerable to geopolitical shocks and crises.
In contrast, renewable energy sources are available in all countries, and their potential is yet to be fully harnessed. The International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) estimates that 90 percent of the world’s electricity can and should come from renewable energy by 2050.
Renewable energy is cheaper
Renewable energy actually is the cheapest power option in most parts of the world today. Prices for renewable energy technologies are dropping rapidly. The cost of electricity from solar power fell by 85 percent between 2010 and 2020. Costs of onshore and offshore wind energy fell by 56 percent and 48 percent respectively. Cheap electricity from renewable sources could provide 65 percent of the world’s total electricity supply by 2030.
Renewable energy is healthier
The unhealthy levels of fine particulate matter and nitrogen dioxide originate mainly from the burning of fossil fuels. In 2018, air pollution from fossil fuels caused $2.9 trillion in health and economic costs, about $8 billion a day. Switching to clean sources of energy, such as wind and solar, thus helps address not only climate change but also air pollution and health.
Renewable energy creates jobs
Renewable energy creates three times more jobs than in the fossil fuel industry. The IEA estimates that the transition towards net-zero emissions will lead to an overall increase in energy sector jobs: while about 5 million jobs in fossil fuel production could be lost by 2030, an estimated 14 million new jobs would be created in clean energy, resulting in a net gain of 9 million jobs. In addition, energy-related industries would require a further 16 million workers, for instance to take on new roles in manufacturing of electric vehicles and hyper-efficient appliances or in innovative technologies such as hydrogen. This means that a total of more than 30 million jobs could be created in clean energy, efficiency, and low-emissions technologies by 2030
Renewable energy makes economic sense
About $5.9 trillion was spent on subsidizing the fossil fuel industry in 2020, including through explicit subsidies, tax breaks, and health and environmental damages that were not priced into the cost of fossil fuels. In comparison, about $4 trillion a year needs to be invested in renewable energy until 2030 including investments in technology and infrastructure . This will allow us to reach net-zero emissions by 2050.