Renewable energies are sources of clean, inexhaustible and increasingly competitive energy. They differ from fossil fuels principally in their diversity, abundance and potential for use anywhere on the planet, but above all in that they produce neither greenhouse gases – which cause climate change – nor polluting emissions. Their costs are also falling and at a sustainable rate, whereas the general cost trend for fossil fuels is in the opposite direction in spite of their present volatility.
Growth in clean energies is unstoppable, as reflected in statistics produced in 2015 by the International Energy Agency (IEA): they represented nearly half of all new electricity generation capacity installed in 2014, when they constituted the second biggest source of electricity worldwide, behind coal.
According to the IEA, world electricity demand will have increased by 70% by 2040 - its share of final energy use rising from 18 to 24% during the same period – driven mainly by the emerging economies of India, China, Africa, the Middle East and South-East Asia.
Clean energy development is vital for combating climate change and limiting its most devastating effects. 2014 was the warmest year on record. The Earth’s temperature has risen by an average 0.85 °C since the end of the 19th Century, states National Geographic in its special November 2015 issue on climate change.
Meanwhile, some 1.1 billion inhabitants (17% of the world population) do not have access to electricity. Equally, 2.7 billion people (38% of the population) use conventional biomass for cooking, heating and lighting in their homes - at serious risk to their health.
As such, one of the objectives established by the United Nations is to achieve to access to electricity for everyone by 2030, an ambitious target considering that, by then, according to the IEA’s estimates, 800 million people will have no access to an electricity supply if current trends continue.
Renewable energies received important backing from the international community through the Paris Accord signed at the World Climate Summit held in the French capital in December 2015.
The agreement, which will enter into force in 2020, establishes, for the first time in history, a binding global objective. Nearly 200 signatory countries pledged to reduce their emissions so that the average temperature of the planet at the end of the current century remains “well below” 2 °C, the limit above which climate change will have more catastrophic effects. The aim is to try to keep it to 1.5 °C.
Likewise, the transition to an energy system based on renewable technologies will have very positive economic consequences. According to the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), doubling the renewable energy share in the world energy mix, to 36% by 2030, will result in additional global growth of 1.1% by that year (equivalent to 1.3 trillion dollars), a increase in wellbeing of 3.7% and in employment in the sector of up to more than 24 million people, compared to 9.2 million today.
Renewable energies include:
ACCIONA Energy works exclusively with renewable energies to supply clean and sustainable energy across the world. The company has a strong presence in more than 20 countries on five continents, centering its activities on the main renewable technologies: wind, solar photovoltaic, solar thermal, hydro and biomass.
In 2015, ACCIONA Energy had more than 8,600 MW (8.6 GW) of own capacity producing over 21 terawatt-hours (TWh) of emission-free electricity, equivalent to the consumption of over six million homes. The company also carries out projects for third parties, for whom it has installed over 1,900 MW (1.9 GW).