Renewable energy is booming as 2015 saw new sources coming online at a faster rate than ever. Last year investment in clean energy was double that of new coal and gas plants, 173 countries now have renewable power targets, and over 8 million people are working in the industry, according to REN 21’s latest Renewables Global Status report. With the huge employment, health and climate benefits of the clean energy transition, it is little wonder countries continue to focus in on renewables even as fossil fuels prices hit “historic lows”. But with clean energy investment in Europe plummeting 21 per cent last year, and continued policy uncertainty, the region is teetering on the edge and could risk falling behind in the global race for clean energy and missing out on all that it has to offer.
— TckTckTck (@tcktcktck) June 1, 2016
- Renewables are powering ahead in the global energy race. Around 147 gigawatts (GW) of renewables were added in 2015 – mainly from wind and solar. By the end of the year there was enough clean energy to supply nearly 24 per cent of the world’s electricity, and provide 44 per cent of EU capacity. Last month, Germany passed a milestone of getting 95 per cent of its power demand from clean sources, while Portugal ran for four days straight on renewables.
- Europe is at risk of falling behind. 2015 was the first time developing countries pumped more money into renewable fuels than their richer neighbours, and subsidies for clean energy fell significantly across Europe. Roll-backs of support schemes, caps on growth and continued support for fossil fuels have all disadvantaged the clean energy industry and now the EU is being warned that further support for renewable projects will be needed for the bloc to meet its 2030 targets.
- Tapping into renewables will mean huge economic and health wins. According to IRENA, while the number of people working in the renewables industry grew 5 per cent in 2015, to 8.1 million, Europe saw employment fall. Meanwhile, the health benefits of shifting away from dirty, dangerous fossil fuels into cleaner renewables are more apparent than ever and with local governments and citizens leading the clean energy transition, renewable energy is delivering huge benefits directly to local communities.
- Renewable energy is breaking records (Greenpeace UK)
- Renewable energy surges to record levels around the world (BBC)
- Europe is losing its reputation as a renewable energy leader (Bloomberg)
- 2015 confirmed as record-breaking year for renewables (BusinessGreen)
- Angela Merkel strikes deal with German states to put brakes on green energy (Guardian)
- Developing world invests more in renewable energy than rich countries for first time, new study says (Independent)
Tools and Resources
- Press Release: A record breaking year for renewable energy: New installations, policy targets, investment and jobs (REN21)
- Report: Renewables 2016 Global Status Report (REN21)
- Graphic: REN21 Interactive Map (REN21)
- Report: Renewable Energy and Jobs – Annual Review 2016 (IRENA)
- Press Release: Renewable Energy Employs 8.1 Million People Worldwide (IRENA)
- Data maps: Energy, emissions and more by country (Carbon Brief)
- Article: 95% of Germany’s energy was provided by renewables last Sunday (ScienceAlert)
- Article: Portugal runs for four days straight on renewable energy alone (Guardian)
- Blog: A Record Breaking Year for Renewable Energy – and Community Energy (World Future Council)
- Blog: The Effort Sharing Dinosaur (Sandbag)
- Video: Community Energy – A Global Movement (World Future Council)
- Graphic: Growth in renewables (REN21)
- Graphic: Renewable jobs (REN21)
- Graphic: Renewable investment (REN21)
- “What is truly remarkable about these results is that they were achieved at a time when fossil fuel prices were at historic lows, and renewables remained at a significant disadvantage in terms of government subsidies. For every dollar spent boosting renewables, nearly four dollars were spent to maintain our dependence on fossil fuels.” – Christine Lins, Executive Secretary of REN21
- “The renewables train is barreling down the tracks, but it’s running on 20th century infrastructure – a system based on outdated thinking where conventional baseload is generated by fossil fuels and nuclear power. To accelerate the transition to a healthier, more-secure and climate-safe future, we need to build the equivalent of a high-speed rail network – a smarter, more flexible system that maximises the use of variable sources of renewable energy, and accommodates decentralised and community-based generation.” – Arthouros Zervos, Chair of REN21
- G7 host Japan goes rogue on coal as renewable jobs buck global trend
- Coal plant closures becoming the new normal for Europe?
- EU Commission softens climate stance, all eyes turn to leaders
- EU under fire for ignoring Paris and backing gas
- Investment in renewables never been higher ‐$286 bl, up 5% in 2015‐ see #GSR2016 via @ren21| www.ren21.net/gsr
- Emerging economies now attract more $ in renewables than developed. #GSR2016 via @ren21| www.ren21.net/gsr
- There’s no stopping the rise of solar PV. See the #GSR2016 report via @ren21 to see why| www.ren21.net/gsr
- Renewables are now bringing clean energy for first time to millions across the globe. #GSR2016 via @ren21 www.ren21.net/gsr
- Majority of countries now have renewable energy targets & policies. #GSR2016 via @REN21 www.ren21.net/gsr
- A huge 8.1 million jobs now linked to renewables across the globe. Via @REN21 #GSR2016 report| www.ren21.net/gsr
- Distributed renewables boom is bringing power to communities for 1st time ‐ @REN21 #GSR2016| www.ren21.net/gsr