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Renewable Energy Market Showing Renewables Are the Way Forward

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Emily Folk's picture
Journalist Conservation Folks

Emily Folk is a conservation and sustainability journalist. She focuses primarily on green technology and the impact changes in technology have on climate change. On her blog, Conservation Folks...

  • Member since 2018
  • 40 items added with 138,885 views
  • Oct 13, 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic has upended the energy industry and made the path ahead somewhat unclear. However, renewable power is showing resilience through it all, and benefitting the economy, environment and public health. The United States — and the world — should take this sustainable approach as it reopens.

Public Health

Countless people are still contracting COVID-19, and many are losing their lives. A Harvard University study recently linked higher levels of air pollution to an increased pandemic mortality rate. In areas where pollution is high — most commonly urban areas — the virus is deadlier. 

This pollution comes from factories, businesses, vehicles and anything else that emits carbon dioxide (CO2) or other harmful substances. Pollution only worsens the odds of contracting this virus that affects breathing and the lungs — and its mortality rate. 

To effectively reduce this rate, cities and other highly populated or dense areas must switch to renewable energy. Solar and wind are leading the charge, but other options like geothermal and tidal are viable, too. 

This change must be quick. With no specific timeline or set date where the pandemic will end, action is needed now. Renewable energy is an immediate solution.

The Economy

The economy is currently in a recession. The pandemic led to mass panic, where businesses feared for their financial status and laid off millions of Americans. In April — at the start of the U.S. outbreak — unemployment skyrocketed to 14.7%, the highest it's ever been. Though it's been slowly declining, millions of people are still out of a job and unable to provide for themselves. 

Further, fossil fuels have proven to be volatile in the stock market. While unemployment reached its peak, oil plummeted in value. Prices per barrel dropped below zero and investors bailed — and oil was no longer a flourishing industry.

Additionally, the coal industry has been seeing a steady decline for years. The price drops in April may have been the final nail in the coffin, making it beyond saving. 

Instead, renewable energy has been holding strong. Though no power sources have been particularly thriving this year, renewables are still holding their own. Prices continue to decrease for resources like solar and wind, and investing in them over oil and coal will drive economic success. 

Renewables are also a way to add jobs to the market while stimulating the economy. Investing in COVID-19 resources and funds like renewables means more positions are needed for installation, monitoring and distribution. This will decrease the unemployment rate and boost the economy.

The Environment

In the discussions about renewable power, the environment is often the focus. Green energy can decrease pollution and reverse the trajectory of the climate crisis.

At the beginning of the pandemic, the world shut down. People stopped going to work, businesses closed up and energy consumption dropped. In urban areas like New York City, pollution levels decreased alongside the lack of energy consumption.

The data shows that fast change and rapid pollution reduction is possible with the right action. However, this drop hasn't lasted since societies are adjusting to a new normal. Therefore, renewable energy is the solution.

On a large scale, it can enact the fast change the planet needs to recover from pollution damage. With no harmful carbon emissions, renewables are the path to a healthier, more stable world. 

3 Benefits of Going Green

Three areas benefit from using renewable energy — public health, the economy and the environment. This solution has been around for decades, and COVID-19 is now making that clear. Switching to renewables and rejecting outdated energy methods is the way to go.

Bob Meinetz's picture
Bob Meinetz on Oct 14, 2020

Emily, the title of your article, "Renewable Energy Market Showing Renewables Are the Way Forward", only addresses one of the three benefits of renewables you list at the end - the economy.

But profitability does not show renewables are the way forward any more than public health does. And though there's money to be made in building solar and wind farms, there's even more money can be made selling fossil fuels. So if anything, profitability shows continuing to burn natural gas indefinitely is the way forward.

If our goal is really to fight climate change, even if it's not as profitable, nuclear energy is the only way forward. It's the only technology that provides dispatchable, clean power, in abundance. Despite half a century of trying to find a way to make renewables deliver those three benefits, they will never be dispatchable, and they will never deliver energy in abundance.

Again: If our goal is really to fight climate change, even if it's not as profitable, nuclear energy is the only way forward.

Emily Folk's picture
Thank Emily for the Post!
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