The fossil fuels, such as oil, coal, and
natural gas, are declining tremendously by precipitating the global energy
crisis in the mere future. Similarly, the increasing global awareness of
climate change and the negative consequences of fossil fuels have accelerated
the green energy transition over the past few years. Despite enumerable
progress on sustainable energy production and distribution, the unprecedented
COVID-19 crisis has hindered the progression of universal access to clean and
sustainable energy. Still, around 800 million people are deprived of
electricity (UN SDG7, 2018). The COVID-19 pandemic urges the exigency to hasten
the clean, safer, and sustainable energy adoption.
Green energy transition and economic recovery
The COVID-19 pandemic has taught several
countries to be more independent with their resources for energy, although the
considerable number of new green energy projects is about to decline this year.
Nevertheless, the halted projects will recommence next year upon receiving
adequate support from the government and the investors. The energy transition
needs to be considered and worked upon as the primary global agenda.
Besides the green energy transition, the
pandemic is creating opportunities for the growth of circular (bio) economy and
economic recovery. However, the initial investment will be huge, but it is
worth investing because the promising future of clean energy is inevitable. Hepbrun
et al (2020) suggest focusing on renewable energy infrastructures such as
energy storage including Hydrogen, power grid advancement, and carbon capture
and sequestration (CCS) technology as well as building efficiency retrofits and
education as primary recovery policies. Such recovery packages could bring a
wave of job opportunities after the pandemic.
The shift from the recent COVID-19 economic
crisis towards long-term recovery is possible through effective planning,
investment, and actions. As for an example, the European Commission (EC) has
committed to the green deal and proposed a total budget of €1.85 trillion for
2021-2027 given priority to green investment (EC, 2020). At the same time, some
other countries are just focusing on short-term economic recovery instead of
investing in green recovery. Recently, countries like the United States,
Mexico, and South Africa are supporting laws to control pollution and standard
for vehicle fuels that favor fossil fuel usage (Hanna et al., 2020).
According to the World Bank (2020a), adopting
opportunities by investing more in renewable energy can be a promising recourse
to balance the economic downfall due to the pandemic in post-COVID-19 economic
recovery. For instance, Maldives can cease energy imports which will ultimately
reduce the cost of electricity service, lower carbon emissions, and
subsequently increase job opportunities. So, the country can grasp the chance
to flourish by generating solar energy until globalization becomes safe so that
the tourism sector can rise again. For this change, the government can ease to
facilitate the private sector investments, which will alternatively augment the
job opportunities and reduce the energy import in the forms of diesel and
isolated island based grids.
In Nepal, hydropower can play a significant
role to provide clean and affordable energy. Recently, the World Bank approves
$ 100 million development policy credit (DPC) to improve the hydroelectric
sector and recover the COVID-19 crisis in Nepal (The World Bank, 2020b). Nepal
has the potential of generating 80,000 MW of Hydroelectricity among which
43,000 MW is economically viable. Nepal’s demand hovers only 1,320 MW peak
electricity (2018/2019) out of which the rest is possible to export to Asian
countries such as India, China, and Bangladesh by providing clean and
affordable energy (Gunatilake et al., 2020).
Therefore, the investment in green electricity
generation and the transmission lines extension will create a significant
number of jobs in the power sector. This considerable investment can recover
the economic loss of the country due to COVID-19 which has harshly affected the
tourism sector, loss of employment of millions of people nationwide, and
excessive use of the Government fund in response to COVID-19.
Investing in off-girds renewable energy
provides sustainable energy and also boosts the economy in rural communities. The
developing countries and the countries relying more on agriculture should
promote bioenergy and biofuels as alternatives to traditional energy sources.
For example, the small-scale biogas plant provides a new norm towards clean
cooking and energy generation in particular rural areas where the electric grid
and other energy sources, such as hydropower, wind energy, and solar energy are
expensive and not-feasible.
COVID-19 gesture to go safe and green
As we know, green energy is not only the
alternatives to non-renewables such as fossil fuels but also the clean, safe,
and sustainable energy of the future. The exploitation of fossil fuels affects
human health directly or indirectly, mostly affecting the eyes, skin, and
lungs. Even the cause of the current pandemic, COVID-19 is also a highly
contagious deadly virus that affects the lungs and thwarts breathing, causing
the death of the person. Though the direct cause of the coronavirus existence
is not the air pollution or climate change, these parameters have indeed
devised a favorable situation for the prolongation of this virus around us.
The enormous exploitation of the “non-renewable”
energy has severely caused climate change over the past few decades. It has
also triggered global warming, ozone layer hole, and warming up of Antarctica’s
perennial snows and ice causing the sea level rise and floods, drought, and
landslides. A new study conducted by Diamond and Wood (2020) showed that Nitrogen
dioxide; a significant air pollutant that causes a detrimental effect on lungs
dropped by approximately 50% over northern China, in early 2020.
particulate matter, which is small enough to penetrate human lungs to cause
harm, significantly dropped by 35% in northern China. Due to the stringent
lockdown of big industries and factories, and a significant drop in the run of
transportation means which uses petrol and diesel as fuels, it was possible to
create a substantial decrease in the pollution levels. This scenario strongly
demands the widespread implementation of renewable energy in the transport and
Similarly, it is crucial to adopt stringent
clean and green policies that will support human health to be less vulnerable
towards deadly viruses and diseases such as COVID-19, Asthma, Cancer, and many
other novels and imminent diseases and infections. The governments of the
respective countries should play a vital role to help the globe to ease the
The effectiveness of the green recovery
investment demands political plans, commitment, and actions. Also, the people
around the globe should be encouraged to incline towards renewable sources for
decarbonization. Though the consequences of climate change seem dilatory in
comparison to the pervasiveness of COVID-19, the effects of climate change are
relatively insidious and much more humongous. The cure for COVID-19 is probably
in the mere future, but the harms created by human activities to nature can
only be cured by shifting towards renewable energy sources.
Clean and green energy sources are affordable,
sustainable, and reliable. It contributes to decarbonize the existing energy
system. Although the global transition from conventional energy to green and
renewable energy is quite taxing, it is not impossible.
Currently, the world is fighting with a lot of
extreme challenges, including the COVID-19 crisis, economic loss, and climate
change as the three major issues that have ravaged the
world as a whole. However, the recovery of the global economy and life due to
COVID-19 is possible with green energy transformation by proper planning and
its practical implementation, which will ultimately ease to fight with climate
change, as well.
COVID-19 has wrecked millions of lives, whether
it is in terms of energy crisis or breakage in the food chain supply. Thus, it
is the time to take sober actions to improve the devastated lives with
effective energy management to fight back global economic downfall with the
transition to renewable energy. Moreover, the pandemic has brought attention to
the global energy transition to eliminate the energy crisis so that every
country can be independent of their sources of sustainable energy. Succinctly,
the future outlook of green and clean energy in the post-COVID-19 world seems
requisite and optimistic.
expressed in this article are solely of the author and not the Greenesa.
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February 2020 COVID-19 shutdown in China. Geophysical Research Letters 47,
(EC), 2020. Europe’s Moment: Repair and prepare for the next generation. Press
Gunatilake, H., Wijayatunga,
P., and Roland-Holst, D. 2020. Hydropower development and economic growth in
Nepal. ADB south Asia working paper series number 70, 1-15.
Hanna, R., Xu, Y., and Victor,
D. G. 2020. After COVID-19, green investment must deliver jobs to get political
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Investments in renewable energy can support post COVID-19 (Coronavirus)
economic recovery in the Maldives. Press release https://www.worldbank.org/en/news/press-release/2020/06/15/investment-renewable-energy-covid-coronavirus-economic-recovery-maldives
The World Bank, 2020b.
World Bank approves $100 million to improve Nepal’s electricity, boosts
COVID-19 recovery. Press release https://www.worldbank.org/en/news/press-release/2020/05/31/world-bank-approves-100-million-credit-to-reform-nepals-electricity-sector-and-boost-recovery-from-covid-19-crisis
UN SDG7, 2015. United
Nations Sustainable Development Goal 7 https://sdgs.un.org/goals/goal7