The bank for a changing world

What is the role of green energy today?

  • 24.04.2018

With the rising threat of climate change, fossil fuel depletion and pollution, the world is now waking up to a widespread ecological awareness. The time for doubt is over, giving way to new ideas and solutions. Renewable energy now accounts for 23% of global electricity generation. In 2015, the Paris Climate Accord set an international goal of raising the renewable power share to 37% by 2040.

Green energy is here—the green side of life

With global renewable energy capacity rising by 8.3% in 2017, the year represented a major step forward in the pivot to renewable energies and the energy transition. By the end of 2017, global green energy capacity surpassed the 2,000 gigawatt mark to reach 2,180 gigawatts. Though hydroelectric remains the top source of renewable energy, the recent growth was fueled primarily by the two powerhouses of photovoltaic solar (+31.6%) and wind (+10%). 

In just a few years, investments in favor of renewable energies have claimed a significant share of the energy sector. Renewables now attract about two times more investment than fossil fuels. In 2017, the global market for green technologies represented €2,200 billion. According to industry experts, the market could double in value over the next 10 years. 

BNP Paribas supports cleantech startups 

The Group has partnered with Cleantech Open France 2018, a competition open to French cleantech startups working in eight fields—agriculture and food; green chemicals and materials; energy efficiency; renewable energies; digital and internet of things; water, air and waste; mobility; and real estate and sustainable construction.

The initiative aims to unearth the best solutions for contributing to the fight against climate change to accelerate the move to market and industrialization of clean technologies.

As part of this contest, startups are invited to submit their application on the Cleantech Open France website through May 18, 2018. The Group, through its French Retail Banking network, will take part in the selection committee and organize meetings between the winning startups and SME/midcaps committed to the energy transition.

BNP Paribas and green energy : 

26,2 %

The share of electricity generated by renewable energies used by the Group’s buildings

12,3 Billion€

The total of the Group’s financing devoted to renewable energies, with a target of €15 billion by 2020

The global challenges facing green energy

In light of these figures, we could believe the battle was already won, but that is far from the case. Many challenges await Greentech worldwide

Highly dependent on the political climate, the sector’s development is often stalled by public aid that remains much too timid. Though subsidies earmarked for renewables total €135 billion, they remain four times lower than the amount of public money that funds fossil fuels. That discrepancy has a crippling effect on Greentech, despite the fact that economies of scale achieved in recent years have dramatically cut the cost of these technologies, once seen as too expensive and unprofitable.

Furthermore, while renewable energies enjoy a positive image when it comes to electricity generation, the technology has yet to break into other industries, such as heating and transportation. As for biofuels, they account for just 3% of energy used in road transport, where petrol remains the undisputed king.  

Finally, despite global conferences like COP 21, coordinated action on a global level is still a rare occurrence, leaving the world’s biggest economic regions to make most of the investment decisions

A health and economic emergency

At a time when nearly seven million people die every year from the effects of pollution, ensuring a successful energy transition has become a matter of urgency for health and economic reasons. According to a recent study published in the academic journal The Lancet Planetary Health, complying with the terms of the Paris Climate Accord would allow governments to save $54,000 billion in medical costs by 2050. 

Photos © Lalsstock / Benedikt

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