Author: Xin Zhou
Energy Review, Vol 4. Issue 5. 2022
The development of renewable energy (RE) systems provides a practical solution to achieve the transition to a low-carbon society. By replacing fossil fuel-based technologies and enabling access to clean energy through decentralised energy systems, RE can generate multiple synergies for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) and targets.
These benefits include, reducing the exposure of the poor to climate-related extreme events, improving public health from reduced air pollution; enhancing agricultural productivity through improved energy access and reduced climate disasters, alleviating water stress by reducing water consumption from thermal power generation, sustainable transport through electric mobility, new job creation in RE sector, and reducing gender inequality through improved energy and water access and associated opportunities for education and jobs.
Integrated policy-making across sectors and economic incentives, such as removing energy subsidies and feed-in-tariff system, are further needed to strengthen the synergies and reduce the trade-offs, such as land competition for the plantation of energy crops and food crops and job loss due to the crowding out of the fossil fuel-based energy systems.
(Dr. Xin Zhou is Research Leader at the Integrated Sustainability Centre at the Institute for Global Environmental Strategies).