As the FT reports in an email this morning:
Renewables have overtaken coal as the world’s largest source of power capacity and the sector is growing far faster than anyone thought, according to the International Energy Agency, with half a million solar panels installed every day last year.
This was, of course, the dream of the Green New Deal group, of which I am a member.
But just imagine what could happen in the UK now if we really committed to this process and used a National Investment Bank to fund it? Another economy and a stronger future would then be possible.
Instead we sit in the sidelines, no doubt discussing austerity, Brexit and the failings of our economy.
Renewables including hydro, the bit that no one seems to be all that keen on pointing out. From the IEA itself:
The International Energy Agency said today that it was significantly increasing its five-year growth forecast for renewables thanks to strong policy support in key countries and sharp cost reductions. Renewables have surpassed coal last year to become the largest source of installed power capacity in the world.
The latest edition of the IEA’s Medium-Term Renewable Market Report now sees renewables growing 13% more between 2015 and 2021 than it did in last year’s forecast, due mostly to stronger policy backing in the United States, China, India and Mexico. Over the forecast period, costs are expected to drop by a quarter in solar PV and 15 percent for onshore wind.
Last year marked a turning point for renewables. Led by wind and solar, renewables represented more than half the new power capacity around the world, reaching a record 153 Gigawatt (GW), 15% more than the previous year. Most of these gains were driven by record-level wind additions of 66 GW and solar PV additions of 49 GW.
About half a million solar panels were installed every day around the world last year. In China, which accounted for about half the wind additions and 40% of all renewable capacity increases, two wind turbines were installed every hour in 2015.
Note the “led by” weaselery there. Coal has declined as a result (in the US at least) of fracking for gas, and here because of carbon taxes. Solar and wind have grown, sure they have, but from trivial bases. This is driven, in reality, by the decline in coal use bringing it down below that hydro base that was already there.
But I’m not paying €80 for a copy of the .pdf that actually details this.