The Road to 100 Percent Renewable Energy
How much of the world’s energy, feasibly, can come from renewable sources? According to a new study in Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews: all of it. A broad meta-analysis of energy use and renewables studies suggests that today’s technology is capable of getting the world to 100 percent renewable energy. What are the implications, and what technologies are paving the way?
100 Percent Renewable Energy
First, let’s establish a key fact: the shift toward renewable energy is inexorable and market-driven. It’s true that estimates of current fossil fuel reserves differ, but statistical projections for the reserves of various naturally-occurring hydrocarbons paint a stark picture. BP estimates current global oil reserves, for example, at approximately 1.7 trillion barrels – enough to meet current demand for about 50 years. It’s likely that we’ll continue to uncover new fossil fuel reservoirs, but this will inevitably require ever-more expensive location and extraction methods as global supplies shrink.
Meanwhile, renewable energy gets more efficient and less expensive every day. New energy storage and grid digitalization solutions have made renewables more competitive than ever, and well suited to displace fossil fuels as the core of the global energy market. The International Renewable Energy Agency estimates that, thanks to green infrastructure investments, renewable energy will be cheaper than fossil fuels by 2020.
Corporate Sustainability: Leading the Charge
It’s clear that a renewable energy revolution is underway. To reach 100 percent renewable energy, though, increased clean energy supply won’t be enough; it’ll also take a concerted effort from consumers and businesses to reduce energy demand.
Corporate sustainability programs are uniquely positioned to support the growth of renewables. In 2017, just 100 companies accounted for 71 percent of global carbon emissions, and commercial buildings used nine percent of all energy generated in the U.S.. Recognizing and acting on their role in the global economy, tech giants Apple and Google have set and achieved goals to source 100 percent of their energy needs from renewable sources. A single multinational corporation’s sustainability efforts, especially at this scale, has the potential to significantly reduce global energy consumption and bring a global 100 percent renewable energy economy even closer to fruition.
Actionable Insights With Utility Data
When it comes to sustainability programs, executives at major U.S. firms hold data analytics solutions in the highest regard. Platforms like Measurabl and Goby provide the actionable, data-fueled energy insights that companies need to intelligently monitor and reduce their energy use.
What powers these solutions? Reliable data. Sustainability data providers like Urjanet enable the entire sustainability ecosystem by giving companies the relevant, actionable information they need to guide their decision-making. With the right metrics, it’s easy to see what areas need trimming and to measure the impact of new efforts. Good data’s pushing the world closer, every day, to a 100 percent renewable energy future.
To learn more about how Urjanet’s Utility Data Platform fuels new and existing sustainability programs, check out our Solutions Sheet: Utility Data for Sustainability. And if you’re ready to take your sustainability program to the next level, contact us today.
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About Nick Arehart
Nick Arehart is a marketing intern at Urjanet who specializes in financial services and sustainability. He's passionate about content that informs and inspires. When he isn't writing for us, he's finishing up his chemistry degree at Emory University.