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After a year of the Russian War, Renewables are more powerful

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The global energy crisis has gotten worse a year after Russia’s war in Ukraine started, and renewable energy has emerged as a practical option for ensuring energy security, with an enormous increase anticipated over the next five years.

The conflict between Russia and Ukraine, which started on February 24, 2022, further disrupted the world’s energy markets.

According to Sarah Brown, a senior energy and climate analyst at independent energy think tank Ember, “the war exacerbated the energy crisis that had been growing since mid-2021 when Russia first began limiting gas exports into Europe.”

Russia started to restrict gas supply to European clients with long-term contracts and stopped spot market sales, according to the Energy Information Administration. In comparison to the prior month in 2021, its gas flow fell by 13%.

The supply-demand imbalance has been reflected in gas and power costs, along with rising demand as economies began to recover from the effects of the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19).

The European Network of Transmission System Operators for Electricity (ENTSO-E) reported that in June 2021, the average maximum price for electricity in the EU was €78 ($94), with the lowest price being €45.8 per megawatt-hour.

With soaring natural gas costs, the maximum EU power price averaged €211.7 per megawatt-hour in February of last year and hit an all-time high of €543.5 per megawatt-hour in August.

In August of last year, Dutch TTF day-ahead contracts reached well above €310 per megawatt-hour as Russian gas imports were severely reduced.

The maximum and minimum power prices in the EU in January of this year were €191 and €69.5, respectively. These prices are still relatively high when compared to levels from before World War II.

Europe’s power generation has had the biggest share of increase from wind and solar ever.

With a growth rate of 22.3 percent compared to 20 percent for gas, wind, and solar outpaced gas for the first time in the EU’s energy generation, up from 19.1 percent the previous year.

Nuclear power accounted for 22% of the total, slightly edging out wind and solar electricity, while hydropower made up 10%.

Despite significant drops in nuclear and hydroelectric output, she claimed, “wind and solar stabilized the ship.”

Brown said that renewable energy sources instead of fossil fuels offer greater energy security.

She said that 2022 witnessed the biggest absolute growth in solar electricity generation, saying “Gas is no longer considered as a viable transition fuel in Europe, and diversifying gas supplies away from Russia only replaces one extremely dangerous import dependency with another.”

According to Brown, solar energy surged by 39 terawatt-hours, or 24 percent, last year, about twice as much as any other year.

She claimed that despite the energy crisis, coal generation did not resume.

According to Ember’s European Energy Review, the proportion of coal in the EU’s electricity generation climbed by 1.5 percent in 2022 to 16 percent, despite the fact that several nations, including Germany, Austria, and Denmark, opted to keep their coal units operational.

“Prices for coal also increased. And these enormous price rises for fossil fuels drove up inflation and electricity bills dramatically throughout Europe and the world “Black added.

Global renewable energy capacity will nearly treble in five years.

In a previous interview with Anadolu, the head of the International Energy Agency (IEA), Fatih Birol, predicted that supply security issues and falling renewable energy costs would be the key forces behind the anticipated, record-breaking rise in renewables over the following five years.

According to the IEA, the capacity of renewable energy worldwide is expected to nearly double by 2027, rising by 2,400 gigawatts to 5,650 gigawatts.

According to Birol, the predicted rise in worldwide renewable capacity of 2,400 gigawatts is equivalent to China’s present installed power capacity and equal to the capacity added in the previous 20 years combined.

The IEA estimates that the forecasted growth in renewable energy is currently 30% higher than the growth volumes predicted one year ago.

By early 2025, renewables will surpass coal as the primary source of electricity, accounting for nearly 90% of the growth in global electricity over the following five years.

The majority of the growth in renewable energy over the projected period will be driven by China, India, Europe, and the US, according to the IEA.

“The conflict and the energy crisis have sped up the installation of wind and solar power in the EU and UK. Also, we witnessed solidarity as nations worked to cut back on their gas usage and reliance on Russian imports “Black stated.

According to her, the issue is now how to remove existing obstacles so that the deployment of wind and solar energy can take place faster and on a larger scale.

Brown, citing the IEA’s conclusion of a lack of Russian gas and a probable resumption of China LNG imports, cautioned against Europe’s complacency in filling gas storage with a projected 30 billion cubic meters of supply-demand imbalance next winter.

In order to permanently lower electricity prices and achieve energy security and independence, she emphasized, “All must be done to facilitate the urgently required wind and solar growth.”

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