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The year 2024 marks a significant turning point in the global energy landscape as the world accelerates its transition towards renewable energy sources. With non-renewable resources rapidly depleting and the climate crisis intensifying, the shift towards sustainable alternatives has become a paramount concern for individuals, industries, and governments worldwide. While progress has been made in harnessing renewable energy, challenges persist in achieving absolute sustainability. However, the developments and initiatives taking place pave the way for a brighter, cleaner, and more environmentally friendly future.

Renewable Energy's Sustainability Perspective:

Renewable energy sources, such as solar, wind, geothermal, and hydro, have gained traction as the most viable solutions to curb the climate crisis. The United Nations endorses this transition, considering it the best course of action to mitigate the threats posed by climate change. While these energy sources are undoubtedly sustainable, it is crucial to recognise that achieving absolute sustainability is a complex endeavour. The manufacturing and installation processes of renewable energy devices still bear environmental impacts, but their overall contribution to reducing greenhouse gas emissions outweighs these concerns.

Energy Storage:

Beyond generating renewable energy, effective energy storage is a crucial aspect of a sustainable energy future. The ability to store surplus energy during periods of overproduction and release it during times of increased demand is key to ensuring a stable and reliable renewable energy supply. Research and innovation in energy storage technologies are imperative to overcoming this hurdle and ensuring the seamless integration of renewables into our energy infrastructure.

The Rising Tide of Renewable Energy:

The period from 2019 to 2024 witnesses an unprecedented surge in renewable energy adoption. Solar, wind, and hydropower projects have shown remarkable progress, and their expansion continues to accelerate. The International Energy Agency's "Renewable 2020" report predicts a 50% increase in solar energy capacity during this period, with an estimated growth of 660GW worldwide. Moreover, overall renewable energy capacity is set to increase by an impressive 1200GW.

Renewable Energy Capacity and Affordability:

Looking at specific renewable resources, solar energy is set to see a substantial boost. The US, in particular, plans to double its solar panel installations to four million by 2023, positioning itself as a major contributor to solar energy expansion. As a result, the cost of solar energy is projected to decrease by 15% to 32% by 2024.

Geothermal energy, which involves harnessing heat from beneath the Earth's surface, is also on the rise. By 2024, its capacity is predicted to grow by 28% (18GW). Likewise, onshore and offshore wind energy capacities are expected to increase significantly, with onshore capacity reaching 850GW and offshore capacity reaching 65GW by 2024.

Hydropower, a long-standing source of renewable energy, continues to be a driving force. By 2024, its capacity is set to increase by 9% to 120GW, mainly driven by ambitious projects in countries like Brazil, India, and China.

Future-Oriented Renewable Energy Initiatives:

In the pursuit of sustainable power generation, scientists and industries worldwide are embarking on innovative projects that hold promising potential. Here are some of the initiatives:

The Slum Electrification Program: India's successful initiative has connected vulnerable households to the electric grid, reducing power loss for utility companies by 30%.

Green Sidewalks: Pavegen paving slabs in Europe's largest urban mall convert kinetic energy from footsteps into electrical energy to power nearby systems.

Dancing Power: Glasgow nightclub SWG3 captures the body heat of dancing crowds and stores it underground to power the building when needed, saving energy consumption and carbon emissions.

Sustainable Skiing: Copenhill, Copenhagen's metallic mountain, serves as both a waste-to-power generator and a recreational area with ski slopes and hiking trails.

Smart Palm Trees: Dubai's smart city initiative features man-made palm trees with wifi points, charging stations, and LED-powered street lamps, all powered by solar energy.

Bath Abbey Hot Water: Bath Abbey utilises hot spring water to heat itself and the surrounding neighbourhood through an eco-heating system, reducing carbon emissions.

A Promising and Smart Future:

The collective efforts of young innovators, experienced professionals, and global initiatives demonstrate the strong momentum of renewable energy adoption. As technology advances and creativity thrives, the future looks bright for sustainable energy solutions. The world must continue to invest in research and development, while individuals must actively participate in the transition to renewables.

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