Energy Development Corporation's wind farm in Burgos, Ilocos Norte

Energy Development Corporation’s wind farm in Burgos, Ilocos Norte

The global warming-driven extreme weather hitting both headlines and homes in the last few years should be enough motivation for people to throw their support behind urgent efforts to push for renewable energy, which, unlike coal-fired power plants, have zero to little greenhouse gas emissions. Just in case that isn’t enough, we’ve rounded up five other reasons you should become an advocate for renewable energy.

  1. It makes economic sense.

Research conducted by the International Renewable Energy Agency shows that doubling the share of renewables in the energy mix by 2030 would cost about $290 billion a year, but savings from reduced pollution and emissions could reach up to US$4.2 trillion a year.

Moreover, the rapid advances in renewable energy production and storage technology are bringing down the system costs, and making it more and more competitive with fossil fuel-based energy. In some parts of the world, renewables are even beginning to beat coal, cost-wise. The Dubai Electricity and Water Authority just bid out 800MV of solar capacity for US$0.03/kwh, surpassing an October 2015 awarding for a coal-fired power plant at US$0.0451.

With costs for solar dropping quickly, and battery storage costs following suit, installing solar panels on rooftops already offers an attractive return on investment. Imagine all the savings you could have on your electric bill if your house relied on solar energy during the day.

  1. It’s good for your health.

The pollution from harmful gases like nitrogen oxide, carbon dioxide, and sulfur dioxide emitted by coal-fired power plants has been linked to neurological and respiratory problems, heart attacks, and cancer. But low-carbon energy alternatives such as wind, solar, hydroelectric and biomass emit much less air pollutants, or none at all. A U.S. study found that replacing fossil fuels with renewable energy can result in a drop in premature mortality rates, less employee sick days, and reduced healthcare costs in general.

  1. It will generate jobs.

As renewable energy develops further and becomes more mainstreamed, it will require the expertise of a whole new crop of professionals and skilled laborers. Compared with fossil fuel energy projects, which are more machine and capital intensive, the renewable energy industry relies more on a strong labor force, thus creating more stable, long-term jobs in areas such as project development, manufacturing, construction, installation, operations and maintenance, sales, transportation and logistics, and financial, legal and consulting services. A past study conducted by the Union of Concerned Scientists in the United States concluded that adopting a 25 percent renewable energy standard by 2025 would generate three times as many jobs as the production of the same amount of electricity from fossil fuels.

  1. It will boost economic growth in more remote areas.

Economic growth and development require, among other things, a reliable and accessible power source. But many remote areas are not connected to the power grid, thus denying people the electricity they need for daily chores and tasks that can bring economic value to their families and communities. Some types of renewable energy, such as solar, are much more flexible compared to fossil fuels, and have the capacity to provide off-grid electricity to areas not serviced or covered by power utilities. While installation of a completely off-grid system is still quite costly, solar energy also has the potential to supplement electricity in on-grid areas experiencing power shortages.

  1. It’s the right thing to do.

There are many practical reasons to support renewable energy, but stakeholders should push for it because it is, simply put, the right thing to do. Coal-fired power plants emit more than 70 percent of greenhouse gases that trap heat in the atmosphere and cause global warming, which in turn brings about extreme weather changes and rising sea levels. Because of the massive role the industry plays in global warming, it must undergo a paradigm shift toward renewables. This is the only way the world can limit the rise in the global average temperature and hand down a less dangerous world to future generations.