Global renewables boom, but is Europe reaping the benefits?

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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.

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  • “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“The renewables train is barreling down the tracks, but it’s running on 20th century infrastructure – a system based on outdated thinking where conventional baseload is generated by fossil fuels and nuclear power.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

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