The world is going green at an unprecedented rate. In 2016, renewable energy accounted for two-thirds of all new power added to the world’s grid, according to a report by the International Energy Agency (IEA) — with more solar brought on board than any other technology. Overall, the growth in renewable power is estimated to be twice as large as gas and coal combined over the next five years.
According to the report, new solar growth even overtook the net growth in coal, which was previously the largest source of power generation. In many countries, the switch toward solar was propelled by falling prices and more favorable government policies. Now, the agency — which was funded by 28 member governments — predicts that in five years, the global capacity for solar will be greater “than the current combined total power of capacity of India and Japan.”
Dr. Fatih Birol, the executive director of the IEA, said, “What we are witnessing is the birth of a new era in solar photovoltaics [PV]. We expect that solar PV capacity growth will be higher than any other renewable technology up to 2022.”
The agency said it has “underestimated” the speed solar is growing. Based on figures from 2016, the IEA now expects one-third more solar in China and India by 2022. China, which is notorious for being the most polluted country in the world, is leading the expansion of renewable energy. The United States is the second-fasting growing market, despite President Trump’s adamant anti-climate change stance.
India is set for a “solar boom” over the next five years. Already, solar farms integrated with the grid are common, and innovation in the country is ensuring even the poorest residents have access to eco-friendly inventions. Because India’s renewable energy capacity will double by 2022, it will likely overtake the EU on growth. In terms of solar, the UK is expected to lag behind. The amount of solar forecast to be installed by 2022 is one-fifth the amount installed over the past five years. Offshore wind farms are expected to account for most of the UK’s renewable energy growth.
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The world’s acceptance of clean energy means technologies — including wind, solar, and geothermal — are becoming comparable in price to fossil fuels. Paolo Frankl, head of the renewable energy division at the IEA, said, “Renewables may well become even cheaper than fossil fuel alternatives [over the next five years].” Within five years, coal may still be the biggest source of power. But renewables’ share of electricity will increase from 24 percent in 2016 to 30 percent by 2022.
Via The Guardian
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