The world’s climatic changes resulting from global warming are leading to an increase in natural disasters. Desertification and floods have started to take their toll on the economy and national security of some countries and their people’s everyday life. In recent years, extremely dangerous natural phenomena have occurred more and more throughout the world, including Mongolia. These climatic changes are observed in every corners of the earth and more rapidly than scientists anticipated. As a result, countries have appealed for a joint struggle against what is the most challenging and severe problem of our time facing mankind.
During the World Future Energy Summit which took place in January of the last year in Abu Dhabi, United Arabian Emirates, participants to the summit express their concerns and discussed the measures which should be taken to reduce global warming and climatic changes, and preserve the world for the next generations. An appeal for a joint struggle was issued. It was recalled too during the summit that renewable energy had important role in overcoming the crisis the financial crisis which had also been worsened by the environmental degradation and food shortage taking place.
According to international researchers, countries rich in renewable energy resources will have strategic advantages as carbon tax or tax levied on carbonic acid emission becomes effective. In other words, the green economy era is considered as a great opportunity for the prosperity of developing countries. Therefore, countries are paying a greater attention to the development of green or renewable energy.
Renewable energy means all energies harnessed from sunlight, wind, rain, tides and geothermal heat, which are naturally and continuously replenished. The International Energy Agency described that “Renewable energy (…) can be derived directly from sunlight or from under the ground. Electricity and heat produced by sunlight, wind, tides, water, biomass, geothermal heat, biofuel and hydrogen formed from renewable sources refers to this description. According to 2008 statistics, 19 percent of the world’s total energy consumption comes from renewables, with 13 percent coming from wood, traditional fuel (such as dungs), 3.2 percent from hydroelectricity and 2.7 percent from new sources: sunlight, wind, biomass and geothermal heat etc.
Researchers pointed out that since 2009, wind power consumption had increased by 30 percent annually. Wind power is widely used in European and Asian countries, as well as in the US. Solar energy production came over 21GW as of this year. Solar energy is commonly used in Germany and Spain and the largest solar thermal power station is located the Mojave Desert, California, USA. Its installed capacity is 354 megawatts (MW).
The largest geothermal power station is the Geysers, located in California, USA, with a capacity of 750 MW. Brazil is considered to have the highest consumption of ethanol fuel – which is produced from sugar cane - and 18% of its automotive fuel is ethanol fuel. This fuel is also widely used in the USA.
In addition to large-scale renewable energy projects, small-scale projects are also suitable for rural and remote areas. Worldwide, an estimated 3 million households use solar energy generators. More than 30 million households get lighting and cooking from biogas and 160 million households use biomass cooking stoves. Micro-hydro systems scaled to meet the needs of small villages and settlements are installed in many areas.
Climate change and high oil prices are the reasons conducting further extensive studies on renewables, for investing in that field and for producing and consuming them.
Renewable energy in Mongolia
In recent years, Mongolia has been paying a great deal of attention to the development and consumption of green energy. The government adopted the National Renewable Energy Program, the Renewable Energy Law and the 100,000 Solar Ger Program, which are all now under implementation. The amount of electricity produced from green energy amounts to 37.4MW and accounts for 4.52% of the total installed capacity. This indicator is a very low compared to other countries. As the repercussion of global warming - natural disasters such as drought and zud - are clearly witnessed and experienced in Mongolia, there is no other way for us but to take environment-friendly measures. Some researchers also make the assumption that global warming is taking place faster in Mongolia than in other countries. Therefore, it is crucial for Mongolia to be amongst the firsts to take objective and meaningful measures to attenuate climate change and the desertification of its territory. It is also important to create a mechanism which supports and encourages organizations and companies to conduct their operations under the country’s green energy policy. The National Renewable Energy Program covers 81 soums in total. It was planned that out of these 81 soums, 40 would be installed with solar-diesel power stations, 7 with hydro-diesel power stations and 25 with wind-solar-diesel power stations. Feasibility studies to build wind power stations on the territories of Zavkhan, Gobi-Altai and other aimags in the Gobi region and of connecting them to the country’s centralized power grid and to the thermal power station in Dalanzadgad are soon to be conducted and the wind power stations should soon be completed.
In the near future, surveys on building a wind power station in the Bayankhongor aimag, a hydro power station in the central region, and the issue of their connection to the centralized power grid system will be decided. The feasibility of building a high capacity power station using solar energy in aimags of the Gobi region will also be studied; a policy to supply remote soums located at big distance from the centralized power grid systems with hybrid energy sources such as diesel-hydro and diesel-solar will be pursued. At present, over 100,000 Mongolian households watch TV in their homes as a result of a project to bring electricity to herding families. As for the controversial Taishir and Dorgon hydroelectric stations - which stirred up much turmoil over the past years - citizens of western aimags are now supplied with permanent electricity since it began to operate. Remote soums have also started to be supplied with wind energy sources.
This way, Mongolia is developing and pursuing its green energy and environmentally friendly policy. It is clear that this will make a great contribution to the fight against global warming as well as reduce desertification.