Renewable energy is massively important for so many reasons. The most prominent of them is the greatest challenge modern civilization has faced — global warming and climate change. However, renewable energy also helps to improve political stability in many regions, helps to clean the air and water, helps to boost local and national economies, and helps to provide energy security and reliability.
The Maldives is one of the countries most threatened by global warming and climate change. It will be one of the first countries to go under water if we don’t make a quick change ourselves. Former president Mohamed Nasheed has been a global leader fighting for climate action, and as such he has been a global leader pushing for clean energy action. About a year ago, Nasheed wrote one of the best articles I’ve seen about the widespread global benefit of renewable energy, beyond global climate change.
So many countries are struggling to feed their people and provide them with water and energy. It’s a huge challenge. The cost of importing fuel are tremendous. Many countries see it as just how things are done, but the times are a changing. Solar panel costs have dropped 80% since 2008, and wind turbine costs have dropped a great deal as well. Wind power and solar power are now cheaper than coal and other energy sources in most places.
Renewables also create more jobs relative to their cost and the energy the can produce. That is shown nicely in the following chart:
Nasheed’s home country of the Maldives has been eager to do its part to address global warming, increase its energy independence, and improve its economy via investment in renewable energy. A large, $138 million renewable energy project was commenced back in 2012. Furthermore, the Maldives stock became carbon neutral even further back, in 2010, and the country has a target to be completely carbon neutral by 2020.
Nasheed was forced out of the Maldives presidency by a police and military coup in 2012, but there’s no doubt his tremendous climate and clean energy leadership has been criticial to the country’s progress, and continues to have influence. Furthermore, Nasheed’s greater impact is likely his global impact. He has been excellent at bringing attention to the climate crisis and encouraging others to take strong climate and clean energy action. Currently, for example, Nasheed serves on the jury of the 2015 Zayed Future Energy Prize. Only 47 years old, he has many years ahead of him to create positive change in the world. I will be keeping my eye on him, and soaking up all of his eloquent words. If you didn’t click through to his Huffington Post article mentioned at the top of this one, be sure do so now and give it a read and a share.
Image Credit: IRENA
Originally published on Sustainnovate.