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  • Writer's pictureBecky Faulks

Huge Progress for Renewable Energy and Wildlife

According to a report by the International Energy Agency (IAE), the world’s renewable energy capacity rose by 50% from 2022 to 2023, and over the next five years, that number is only set to rise. The report, which was published on January 11th, 2024, states that solar PV and wind energy are the main players, accounting for 95% of the expansion. Forecasts show renewable energy overtaking coal to become the largest source of global electricity by 2025.

IEA Executive Director Fatih Birol said:

‘The new IEA report shows that under current policies and market conditions, global renewable capacity is already on course to increase by two-and-a-half times by 2030. It’s not enough yet to reach the COP28 goal of tripling renewables, but we’re moving closer – and governments have the tools needed to close the gap. Onshore wind and solar PV are cheaper today than new fossil fuel plants almost everywhere and cheaper than existing fossil fuel plants in most countries.’


It's good news for us, good news for the planet and certainly good news for our wildlife. Switching from fossil fuels to renewable energy sources not only combats climate change but also reduces air pollution and habitat loss. According to American Clean Power, research has routinely found that wind power has the lowest impact on wildlife, leaving the majority of habitats undisturbed, but the industry is still taking steps to combat the impact it does have. Concerns have been raised about the effect the current progress will have on migrating birds, with fears that huge numbers could die after colliding with wind turbines.


Patricia Zurita, the CEO of BirdLife International said that the data on the impact of renewable energy technologies on wildlife was incomplete, but it has been established that there could be repercussions if the projects are not managed sensitively. Zurita cited a BirdLife project in Gebel El Zeit, Egypt that was taking the appropriate steps with its wind turbines. At dusk and dawn, which are peak times for birds in the area, the turbines are shut down, and can even be shut down automatically when the radar detects high bird numbers. Happily, this has had very little effect on the amount of energy produced. The largest hurdle to overcome appears to be financial constraints in emerging and developing economies, but steps are being taken to ensure they don’t get left behind. Dr Birol summarises:


‘This report is the first key instalment of the IEA’s follow-up work on the energy outcomes of COP28 that will continue throughout 2024 and beyond. This is based on the five key pillars we set out ahead of COP28 and covers tripling renewables, doubling energy efficiency, cutting methane emissions, transitioning away from fossil fuels, and scaling up financing for emerging and developing economies. We will be following very closely to see whether countries are delivering on their promises and implementing appropriate policies.’


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