Several headlines have been circulating recently regarding a surge in investments into renewable energy. The shift towards using renewable energy is occurring globally: the Swedes developing their biogas technology, Australia announcing the powering of 70% of homes with renewable energy just last month, and both energy leaders like China and smaller developing countries like Mauritania opting for greener solutions in government. Global investments in renewables have been on the rise for years, and are currently at peak levels. However, when peering closer at the stats, it seems that there are select countries that are at the forefront of investment: developing countries.
Developing countries have been flying under the radar for years as they develop their competitive economies on the global market. Meanwhile, their population sizes are growing, and governments are now faced with the stress of supplying everyone with a sufficient amount of energy and power. The cost of importing fossil fuel or coal-based energy sources is taxing for a developing country; and so finding a viably cheaper, easy and effective alternative would be the new ideal. It has been reached by way of renewable energy.
Renewable energy sources include solar, hydro, geothermal, wind, and countless other natural resources that are essentially free to use with the correct equipment. Effectively, in 2015, developing countries have invested an astounding $156 billion into this industry. This figure is not only a 19% increase from the year prior, but it also accounts for a greater sum than all the richer nations combined. The outcome of this investment can only be positive, as it indicates that future generations will be weaned off of fossil fuels, and on to the use of more environmentally- and economically-viable options in the long term.
In a way, developing countries have a beautiful edge over industrialized countries, as they are able to learn from the mistakes of developed countries, and opt for alternative options during their industrialization. Many developing countries, such as China and India, are already global green energy superpowers, likely due to their population’s past involvement in the industries of developed nations. These countries, among others, have unfortunately been the products of a manufacturing industry as a result. By opting to invest in renewable sources, these countries can be freed from the burden of relying on other nations for their energy supply. Moreover, jobs will be generated in the emerging fields, and those nations with an abundance of renewable resources can harness this natural gift to accelerate their development.
The progressive stance being taken by so many developing nations is astounding, and offers a very hopeful look into future energy trends. Additionally, since renewable technology is still developing and contains a learning curve, technicians and manufacturers can use the uncertainty to continually improve upon production efficiency and affordability. Between 2009 and 2014, the photovoltaic industry saw an 80% decrease in cost. In the same amount of time, wind-power decreased by 60%. These significant changes are a hopeful reminder that the renewables industry is young and thriving, and might one day be the leading energy industry across the globe.