For all the doom and gloom surrounding our ever-increasing temps, there’s more and more good news. This time, it’s because humanity seems to be responding by installing renewables at an incredible, record-breaking rate. Thanks to falling prices for solar and wind as well as massive pushes from nations like India and China, a new report from the International Energy Agency is pretty positive.
According to the report, more solar was installed last year than any other one energy source, and renewables accounted for more than 60% of all new energy systems brought online last year.
“This marks a turning point and underpins our more optimistic solar photovoltaic forecast which… [went up] by over one-third compared to last year’s rport,” the paper said.
The Trump administration and other climate deniers have repeatedly said that the US got a “raw deal” in the Paris Climate Accords, but the study shows otherwise. China, long considered to be one of the worst on the pollution/climate front has been solar’s standard-bearer in the last year. Well over half of all new solar panels in the world are now being produced in China, and the government has been hugely supportive of the technology. This has helped the price of the once-expensive technology to fall precipitously over the past two years.
All this means that the world now gets just under a quarter — 24% — of all its power from renewables. Moreover, the IEA is very confident that this will increase even more over the next couple years, possibly bringing thousands of terawatts online by 2022 — meaning that an energy production capacity on the same order of magnitude as the entire current US grid, could see installation in the coming years.
For its part, the US is lagging behind the rest of the globe. And badly. About 8% of US power currently comes from renewables, obviously lagging quite a bit behind everyone else. But it looks like the rest of the world will take care of it anyway, so we’ll see.