Wind turbines in Rio do Fogo, Brazil

Renewable energy Huge potential available

The global potential in terms of renewable energy is enormous. In purely mathematical terms, sun, wind, water, geothermal power and biomass can generate a thousand times more energy than the entire global population needs. This tremendous potential is not yet being used as much as would be necessary to meet the internationally agreed binding climate targets.

For a number of years, the use of renewable energy sources has been increasing massively. However, fossil fuels, too, have seen an increase. For decades, the share of fossil fuels in the global energy mix has continued to be high at around 80 per cent. While the expansion of renewable energy in the area of power generation is advancing, little progress is being made as regards climate-friendly mobility and in the areas of housing and industry (in particular in terms of heating and cooling).

Developing countries, especially, lack the funds to invest in the infrastructure needed, for example power grids and energy storage. Many governments still subsidise fossil fuels, instead of using their funds to promote renewable energy sources.

Yet, for many developing countries and emerging economies, these energies have a crucial advantage. They can also be used in remote areas that are not connected to the public power grid. Decentralised photovoltaic systems in combination with battery storage systems can, for instance, secure energy supply for households. Such systems can also generate environmentally-friendly and climate-friendly power for agricultural purposes and small companies and thus boost the local economy.

The developing countries are key to making the global energy transition a success. However, to make the transition process fair, they need initial financial and technical support from the international community.

Solar power system to supply electricity to a groundwater pump in the southwest of Bangladesh. The pumped groundwater is used to irrigate the adjacent fields.
Wind farm near Zafarana, Egypt
Hydroelectric power plant in Uganda
A fuel-efficient stove in Kenya
Overview of the geothermal power plant Olkaria, Kenya

As at: 25/07/2023