The renwable energy market has made substantial gains recently. The Energy Information Administration has released data that shows that energy producing companies are adding 20 gigawatts of electric capacity. Of this new capacity 68% will be from renewable sources of energy.
Renewable energy isn't just supplying more energy, but its investments worldwide have also increased significantly. The United Nations Environment Program reported that since 2013 global investment in Renewable Energy has risen 17%. This past year saw the worldwide investment jump to $270 billion. The report also stated that for the first time carbon-free energy producing installations surpassed 100,000 megawatts of capacity.
Solar and Wind were the two renewable sources of energy that saw the largest investments. In Japan and China $75 billion went into solar power alone. In the first quarter of 2015 China added five gigawatts of solar capacity. This brings China's total energy supplied by solar energy 33 gigawatts.
This increase of renewable energy is mirrored by the reduction of the cost for renewable energy. In 1970 the cost of solar panels per watt was $150, now the price is $0.60 per watt. According to the International Renewable Energy Agency solar panel prices have dropped 75% since 2009. In the United States the average cost of generating solar energy is $130 per megawatt hour. This contrasts favorable when compared to the $147 per megawatt hour that coal requires.
So based off of this information, do you think that Renewable Energy's growth is a sign that the world is switching off of harmful carbon emitting energy sources?
Renewable energy sources accounted for a huge 47% of Spain’s electricity generation in March.
According to Red Electrica de Espana, the country’s grid operator, tThe top source of renewable power in the country this March was wind, producing 22.5% of the country’s power.
Spain has long been a leader in wind power, recently becoming the first country in the world to claim wind as its top energy source throughout a year.
Overall, 69% of Spain’s power came from carbon-free sources last month, with nuclear producing another 23.8% of power.
Overall, however, wind has beat out nuclear power in providing more power to Spain in 2015. Wind provided 23.7% of power between January and March, while nuclear accounted for 22.7% in the same period.
Spain is aiming to use wind to supply 40% of electrical consumption by 2020.
Other forms of renewables also continue to be on the rise in Spain, particularly solar power.
Although solar accounted for only 3.2% of Spain’s power in March, the country’s solar industry is one of the largest in the world.
Other notable renewable power sources in Spain include hydroelectric power, which made up 17.5% of the country’s energy in March, and thermal renewable, which accounted for 1.8%.
The latest announcement coming from Spain is just the latest is a host of positive European renewable development.
Last year, renewable energy became a major source of Germany’s electricity supply. Wind, solar, biomass, and hydropower accounted for 27.3% of Germany’s total power. On May 11, 2014,; Germany broke records by generating 74% of its power from renewable sources.
In the UK, renewables also reached record highs last year. Renewable power contributed nearly one fifth of the the country’s power in 2014.
Offshore wind power grew by 62% while hydropower increased by 78%.
Meanwhile, solar capacity almost doubled in the UK in 2014.
At the end of 2014, almost five gigawatts (5GW) of solar photovoltaic panels had been installed in the country with enough panels to supply the equivalent of 1.5m homes in the UK.
Tuesday Popular Science reported that Brazil is to build a massive solar farm that will float on the surface of a reservoir. As the entire solar energy industry is rapidly growing, a new wave of innovative floating solar farms has grown in popularity as well.
The new far in Brazil will produce 350 megawatts of electricity, topping the current largest floating solar plant in the world. That plant is in Japan and has a capacity of 13.4 megawatts. The average output of a coal power plant in the United State is roughly 240 megawatts. “A single megawatt can power 164 homes in the United States,” reports Popular Science. That means the new floating solar farm in Brazil would be able to provide enough energy to power 57,400 average sized homes if it were located in the U.S.
Mexico has announced a “landmark” climate target, making it the first developing country to present a formal pledge under the UN climate process.
As part of its proposal, the country promised that its emissions of greenhouse gases will peak by 2026 and then begin to decline. The government has said the plan would mean that, by 2030, emissions will be 22% lower than business-as-usual projections.
Mexico’s pledges is a major milestone on the road to Paris, where governments are expected to meet at the end of the year to agree a new comprehensive deal on tackling the climate crisis.
In Lima last December, countries agreed that those ready to do so should declare their national contributions to this pact – known as their Intended Nationally Determined Contributions by 31 March.
Hitting the target will mean sharply raising fuel efficiency, and Mexico has also set goals for increasing the share of renewable and nuclear energy in its power sector.
The targets are unconditional, which means the country will not required financial support from developed countries to meet its goals.
The government has said it could still raise its 2030 greenhouse gas reduction target to 36% if it gained access to climate funds and technology or if a global carbon price was put in place.
The pledge has been welcomed both inside the country and globally.
President Felipe Calderon, Chair of the Global Commission on the Economy and the Climate and former President of Mexico on the Mexican commitment said:
¨We welcome this announcement and the fact that Mexico is the first major emerging economy to declare its commitment to a low-carbon future. This is an example for other countries, including developed countries, to follow.¨
After the targets were unveiled, President Enrique Pena Nieto announced a new joint climate policy task force with US President, Barack Obama, aimed at further deepening “policy and regulatory coordination” in areas such as vehicle fuel efficiency, appliance standards and electricity grid modernisation.
The White House praised Mexico for being the first major emerging economy to submit its national plan.
The move has also been welcomed by US green groups.
“While the devil is in the details, Mexico’s plan to peak its emissions by 2026 is particularly encouraging and should inspire others to follow a similar course,” said Jennifer Morgan, global director of the World Resources Institute’s climate program.