A new study has concluded that policy makers and investors around the globe are embracing renewable, energy efficient, and flexible electricity sources.
In an article published in the journal Nature Energy this week, University of Exeter professor Catherine Mitchell from the University’s Energy Policy Group concludes that the fact that investment in renewable electricity has now outstripped that of fossil fuels, and that policies focusing on improving energy efficiency and energy systems flexibility, all point to a global momentum towards the adoption of sustainable energy systems.
“While the world is still dependent on fossil fuels, because energy systems have long lives, it has got to the point where more than half of global electricity system investment is in renewables rather than fossil fuels investment,” said Mitchell. “It is a sign that globally we have moved our public policy discourse and investor preferences from the old ‘dirty’ energy system to a clean one.”
The article, Momentum is increasing towards a flexible electricity system based on renewables, argues that “the global energy policy discourse is moving rapidly towards one of renewable, energy-efficient and flexible electricity systems.”
Mitchell makes the case that most countries, especially throughout Europe, are making a move towards sustainable energy systems based on a few leading pioneers like Denmark and Germany in the 1990s.
“They are just trying to act as good global neighbours and have realised that meeting their climate change reduction commitments is no longer as expensive as they thought, and it helps, rather than makes worse, the security of their energy systems,” Mitchell added.
Of important note for us, and as made by Mitchell, while the discourse is moving inexorably towards a more sustainable future, the challenge of addressing climate change has not yet been met, and that further policies need to be enacted in order to back up the desire to curb global warming.
“The recent United Nations meeting on climate change in Paris and its agreements has led to strong support for individual country’s sustainable energy policies,” Mitchell explained. “However, these statements need to be backed up with appropriate governance – policies, institutions, incentives and energy system rules – to make sure they are implemented and are successful.”