Energy Efficiency

By year’s end, the outlook on renewable energy trends appeared much brighter

Renewable Energy Trends for 2021

Renewable energy trends continued to grow in 2020, despite the global pandemic. Experts expect bigger growth as the pandemic comes under control in 2021 

As mid-year approached , it appeared Covid-19 might sideline renewable energy progress. A May market update by the International Energy Agency (IEA) reported that the pandemic was “hurting – but not halting – global renewable energy growth.”enewables Achievements in 2020

By year’s end, the outlook on renewable energy trends appeared much brighter. According to IEA, use of renewables that generate electricity grew by almost 7% worldwide in 2020, even as overall energy demand declined by 5%.

Further, the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) reported that electricity generation from renewable energy sources rose nationally from 18% in 2019 to 20% in 2020. EIA predicts that number will rise to 21% in 2021.

The year saw many of the energy trends at the beginning of 2020 continue to grow in popularity. Experts project those trends and the ones below will continue to grow in 2021.

Renewables’ Resurgence

Based on research from both IEA and EIA, energy management software provider EnergyWatch forecasts these renewable energy trends for 2021.

Growth of Green Hydrogen

Efforts to reduce emissions tend to focus on finding alternatives for gas and oil. Green hydrogen, on the other hand, can produce clean gas using renewable energy sources. While some industrial processes and heavy transport may have to continue running on gas, renewable hydrogen is a potential clean source of energy in other areas.

Rebound of Renewables

The pandemic postponed many renewable energy projects such as those using solar and wind power. Many of these should restart in 2021. Solar efforts took a bigger hit from the pandemic and will experience a less robust recovery. Wind installations, however, many of which were financed and under construction before the pandemic, should experience a fuller recovery.

Biofuel’s Performance Tied to Fossil Fuel Trends

Lockdown measures put in place to fight the spread of Covid-19 reduced economic activity, which also reduced the need for gasoline and diesel. Biofuel use rises and falls with that of fossil fuels, due in large part to policies setting amounts of biofuel combined with gasoline and diesel. If the spread of coronavirus is curtailed and lockdown regulations are lifted, both biofuel and fossil fuels should experience a resurgence in 2021.

Spending on Renewables Likely to Increase

Meanwhile, investment firm Goldman Sachs predicts that 2021’s most impactful energy trend will be that spending on renewable energy projects will surpass spending on fossil fuel projects.

According to Forbes, this prediction is based in part on the election of Sen. Joe Biden as president.

Climate change, according to the article, is second only to Covid-19 on Biden’s list of priorities, and his team has developed an ambitious program to drastically reduce carbon emissions. That program will “require unprecedented investments in green energy technologies: from traditional solar, wind, and storage to frontier tech like hydrogen fuel cells and small modular reactors (SMRs),” according to Forbes.

Any forecasts concerning energy trends are subject to an array of variables. The coronavirus pandemic will no doubt have an impact on energy issues: Some predictions are contingent on the lessening of the virus’ impact on health and economies.

However, the virus will affect only the pace of change, not the commitment to sustainable energy that looks to move forward on a number of fronts in 2021.

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