The International Energy Agency’s (IEA) World Energy Outlook 2017 predicts global energy consumption to shift to clean energy technologies due to the substantial decrease in costs for clean and natural technologies. As shown below in Figure 1, there is a rapid deployment of additional renewable energy capacity over the next two decades.
The same IEA report projects that overall global energy demand will expand by 30% from today to 2040 and will be largely fueled by the shift to clean energy technologies. Experts agree that this pollution-eliminating trend will “have to expand exponentially to keep pace with rising demand and population increases.” Efforts to reduce or eliminate toxic pollution from legacy sources such as coal are growing rapidly through focused policies, technology development and infrastructure efficiency improvements. The United States is the 2nd largest market driving the innovation to these clean energy technologies, only behind China.
Figure 1: Global Average Annual Net Capacity Additions by Type
In 2015, the overall renewable energy capacity increased more than 115% (from 90,000 MW in 2000 to 194,000 MW in 2015-data given by Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy). Due to the evolution of clean technologies, “a fall in oil demand is expected to be driven by growth in transport electrification and efficiency improvements in internal combustion engines”, said Laszlo Varro, IEA chief economist.
Since 2005, new investment in clean energy technologies continues to expand as is illustrated in Figure 2. IEA’s report states that the global population continues to expand from 7.4 billion today to more than 9 billion in 2040.” Coinciding with this huge population growth, the Office of Energy, Efficiency & Renewable Energy found that the investment in clean energy has a growth rate of 4% globally, and accounts for $329 billion in clean energy technology investments. The United States’ population is expected to increase by 100 million people over the next 50 years and will require these investments in clean energy. More investments will lead to more jobs, a better environment and a stable economy.“Cleantech is not going away, either on the ground or as an investment opportunity. And that’s no myth,” says Sara Hastings-Simon, a specialist in McKinsey’s Calgary office.
Ultimately, the renewable energy technologies are expected to not only improve air quality, but create jobs supporting the global economy. “The shift to clean and efficient energy technologies is inevitable. Rising global population, increasing pollution levels and growing energy demand are driving this shift, and the failure to embrace this evolution is not an option. The time to take action is now, as our environment and economy must be the beneficiaries of this eventuality,” Shannon Sentell, Ph.D. Chief Operations Officer of Stealth Power.
Figure 2: New Investment in Clean Energy by Technology - Global