Renewable Energy is swiftly becoming the worldwide go-to for new power sources.
While this may not be the best news for the fossil fuel industry, it’s amazing for our planet and future generations.
In a report published by the International Energy Agency (and later developed upon in Gizmodo), figures from 2015 were examined that showed over 50% of new power sources stemmed from renewable (or ‘clean’) energy formats, such as solar or wind power.
Renewable electricity capacity growth hit an all time high in 2015, with a 15% increase, leaving the current total at the 153 gigawatt (GW) mark. Thankfully, Gizmodo were able to break that down into layman’s terms for everyone:
To put this figure into perspective, the total in renewables growth is equivalent to the total current power capacity of Canada. Incredibly, about half a million solar panels were installed each day around the world last year.
The lion’s share of this growth (about three-quarters worth) came in the form of new onshore wind and solar power plants. The IEA says that, for the first time, “renewables accounted for more than half of net annual additions to power capacity and overtook coal in terms of cumulative installed capacity in the world.” (By net capacity, the IEA is referring to new capacity minus retired capacity, such as old hydro or coal plants being taken offline.)
That last point bears repeating. Renewables in the form of solar and wind now account for more installed capacity than any other form of electricity, including coal. That’s huge, especially in consideration of the ambitious climate targets reached in Paris last year.
Reasons for the surge in renewables were attributed to supportive government policies and sharp reductions in the cost of solar and wind. Encouragingly, the IEA says these trends are likely to continue, and it’s projecting a 42 percent increase in global renewable electricity capacity by 2021. Overall, the share of renewables in electricity generation will rise from 23 percent in 2015 to a projected 28 percent in 2021. That’s slightly over a quarter of the world’s total electricity need, so there’s still plenty of room for improvement.
“China remains the undisputable global leader of renewable energy expansion, representing close to 40 percent of growth,” write the authors of the new report. China, which recently adopted a pro-environment policy, is concerned about ongoing desertification, rising sea levels, and poor air quality. Last year, China installed wind turbines at a rate of two every hour.
The European Union and the United States made sizable advances last year as well, but the IEA says “Asia is the engine of renewable power capacity and growth,” adding that “In the next five years, [China] and India alone will account for almost half of global renewable capacity additions.”
To learn a little more about renewable energy, check out the video below: