An encouraging milestone has been reached in terms of renewable energy worldwide. According to the Medium-Term Market Report 2016 from the International Energy Agency (IEA), for the first time, renewable energy production capacity has exceeded that of coal in 2015.
The report from the International Energy Agency (IEA), published on Tuesday, October 25, at the Singapore International Energy Week explained that coal had an installed capacity of 1951 GW (gigawatt) against 1969 GW for clean energy sources.
At the presentation of these results, the IEA executive director Fatih Birol told: “We are witnessing a transformation of the energy markets, now driven by the renewable.”
This remarkable achievement was made possible by a 2015 particularly rich in new projects, mainly in wind and solar. “More competition, enhanced policy support in key markets, and technology improvements are among the many factors behind this. While climate change mitigation is a powerful driver for renewables, it is not the only one. In many countries, cutting deadly air pollution and diversifying energy supplies to improve energy security play an equally strong role in growing low-carbon energy sources, especially in emerging Asia,” Birol explained.
The rush to renewable resulted in the construction of “500,000 new solar panels a day,” say the authors of the IEA report. The effort comes mainly from emerging countries, especially China. Beijing has installed two wind turbines per hour in 2015. The report also shows that United States surpasses the EU for the first time. On its own, renewable electricity sources installed last year cover, in theory, the needs of a country as the size of Canada.
The acceleration of this trend has even surprised the IEA who had revised upwards by 13% its forecast for production of renewable energy for the next five years.
This remarkable achievement was made possible by a 2015 particularly rich in new projects
Solar PV and wind account for almost two-third of rise in renewable generation. The total renewable electricity is expected to overpass 7600 TWh by 2021, which is equivalent to EU and US today.
The share of renewables rise in all sectors, despite persistent challenges in heat and transport. Therefore, interactions between energy efficiency and renewables have become critical.