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The Role of Intermittent and Firm Renewables in Combating the Climate Crisis

Whether we're ready for it or not, it's obvious that our world's history has reached a turning point. It is now too late to disregard the negative repercussions of climate change. No matter where we live or our ancestry, the climate problem is affecting us all, as we saw throughout 2022 (another year marked by extreme weather events). It is now necessary for us to examine our current infrastructure closely and come up with creative, deliberate alternatives that will better position us to deal with unforeseen circumstances. Setting the development of reliable renewable energy sources as a high priority will be essential for realizing this vision.

Firm renewable energy sources, such as geothermal and biogas, can be produced continually and are always available, despite external factors like severe weather. Because they improve resiliency and grid security, they become highly dependable and an essential part of the switch to clean energy. We must modify our infrastructure to be especially resilient as natural catastrophes continue to occur more frequently. Stop analyzing severe weather in calendar terms. Like the wildfire and hurricane seasons, these seasons that were once confined to a few months have grown significantly longer.

The United States endured one of its warmest years on record last year, and Florida saw its most powerful storm since 1935. The worst megadrought in more than 1,200 years continued to have an impact on the Western United States, and Kentucky was hit by severe flooding. These are just a few of the numerous bad weather incidents that have wrecked havoc around the nation. In fact, climate change-related natural disasters during the past year caused $165 billion in damage to the United States and forced thousands of its inhabitants to flee their homes.

It takes a village, as they say, and the same is true when trying to solve the climate catastrophe. The fight against climate change will require significant cooperation, but progress is being made.

The number of nations, cities, and organizations that have committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions has increased significantly year over year, according to the Net Zero Tracker partnership. Also, a recent Deloitte study revealed that almost 3 in 5 leaders have established ESG working groups to advance a more sustainable future. Although we still have a long way to go, actions like these show a renewed commitment to advancing the sustainable energy transition. We must act decisively right away to decarbonize our infrastructure, increase resilience, and diversify our energy supply so that we are not dependent on a single energy source.

People typically think about solar panels or wind turbines, which are transient sources of renewable energy, when considering converting to more sustainable options. Because of their compact size, simplicity of installation, and capacity for wide distribution, intermittent renewable energy sources are excellent choices for people wishing to invest in greener types of power.

Yet, as they are overly influenced by uncontrollable elements like sunshine and wind power, intermittent solutions are not always available or trustworthy because they take their energy from natural sources. This implies that prolonged blackouts of electricity may occur during periods of harsh weather in the area. To put this in perspective, a single, horrifyingly powerful hurricane might destroy miles of wind turbines, leaving communities without electricity for protracted periods of time.

It's essential that we adopt a wide range of renewable, energy-efficient solutions to meet this challenge, and firm renewable sources are an important part of that. Firm renewables fill the void created by intermittent solutions' inconsistency. They deliver decarbonized electricity that is cheap and clean and are not reliant on uncontrollable outside causes.

Although widespread use of robust renewables on a national basis is still a few years away, pioneers in the clean energy transition like Hawaii and California are sending out encouraging signals that implementation is imminent. The state of Hawaii's major electricity provider, Hawaiian Electric, announced plans to hasten the adoption of stable renewable energy sources during the coming ten years last year. Climate activists in California are still pushing for strong renewable energy sources as a need for the state's goal of having a net-zero carbon economy by 2045.

It's crucial that adoption is viewed through a holistic lens as state lawmakers and corporate executives build road maps for achieving decarbonization targets and implementing renewable energy solutions. Firm renewables are an essential part of the clean energy transition, even though they are by no means the sole one. As we have to deal with increasingly severe natural disasters all year round, it is crucial that we implement a diversified portfolio of solutions that combines intermittent and reliable renewable energy sources to tackle the climate crisis.

It's time to take action. The severity of extreme weather phenomena is only increasing. To combat climate change, we must reconsider our infrastructure and give renewable energy alternatives first priority. We must take charge of the transition.

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