Towards the necessary end of the fossil fuel era
How Green Energy is already taking over the WorldBy Juan Cole | Mar. 29, 2016
In 2015 energy companies invested more in new renewables power plants in 2015 than in fossil fuel plants for the first time in history. The majority of these plants were planned for the developing countries, which is a sign that the technology is viewed as now less expensive.
The UNEP press release said,
“Coal and gas-fired electricity generation last year drew less than half the record investment made in solar, wind and other renewables capacity — one of several important firsts for green energy announced today in a UN-backed report. Global Trends in Renewable Energy Investment 2016 . . . says the annual global investment in new renewables capacity, at $266 billion, was more than double the estimated $130 billion invested in coal and gas power station s in 2015. All investments in renewables, including early-stage technology and R&D as well as spending on new capacity, totalled $286 billion in 2015, some 3% higher than the previous record in 2011. Since 2004, the world has invested $ 2.3 trillion in renewable energy (unadjusted for inflation). (All figures for renewables in this release include wind, solar, biomass and waste-to-energy, biofuels, geothermal, marine and small hydro, but exclude large hydro-electric projects of more than 50 megawatts). Just as significantly, developing world investments in renewables topped those of developed nations for the first time in 20 15. Helped by further falls in generating costs per megawatt-hour, particularly in solar photovoltaics, renewables excluding large hydro made up 54% of added gigawatt (GW) capacity of all technologies last year. It marks the first time new installed renewables have topped the capacity added from all conventional technologies. The 134 gigawatts of renewable power added worldwide in 2015 compares to 106GW in 2014 and 87GW in 2013. Were it not for renewables excluding large hydro, annual global CO2 emissions would have been an estimated 1.5 gigatonnes higher in 2015.”(Continued here.)