With 153 gigawatts of new, renewable energy installed across the world in 2015, renewable energy surpassed coal-fired electric generation for the first time. Led by record levels of both wind and solar, 66 gigawatts and 49 GWs of solar, respectively, the world saw a 15 percent increase in renewable energy production. As such more than half of new power capacity developed worldwide came from renewable resources.
That’s according to the IEA’s new Medium-Term Renewable Market Report. The agency also revised upward its projections of renewable energy installations in future years, largely because of stronger international policies and continual price drops in renewable energy technologies.
IEA now anticipates that the deployment of renewables will increase an additional 13 percent between now and 2021. According to IEA, the cost of solar could drop by 25 percent and wind by 15 percent over the next five years due to more global competition, improved technology, needs to diversify energy security and stronger government policy backing in the countries like the US, China, India and Mexico.
“We are witnessing a transformation of global power markets led by renewables and, as is the case with other fields, the center of gravity for renewable growth is moving to emerging markets,” said Dr. Fatih Birol, the IEA’s executive director.
The IEA says China alone comprised of 40 percent of international renewable power growth last year, but it only produces half of its electricity demand from wind and solar. Contrastingly, the European Union and Japan’s renewable energy production projections set a pace that will enable it to surpass their electricity demands between 2016 and 2021.
“I am pleased to see that last year was one of records for renewables and that our projections for growth over the next five years are more optimistic,” said Dr. Birol. “However, even these higher expectations remain modest compared with the huge untapped potential of renewables. The IEA will be working with governments around the world to maximize the deployment of renewables in coming years.”
While there is no question that 2015 was a year of exponential progress toward meeting long-term climate goals and a significant improvement from a report about long-term solar market expansion in 2014, IEA cautions that too many countries have government policies that act as obstacles and slow down investment in renewable energy. For instance, financing remains a problem in developing countries that lack resources to integrate solar and wind into traditional power infrastructure.Tweet