Last year was a great year for green development and the renewable energy industry. The IEA (International Energy Agency) announced in November 2016 that, based on their statistics, renewables have overtaken coal for the first time in history. The agency also overviewed this as a turning point for green electricity.
For some years now, humankind has been focusing on replacing the energy production from coal to renewable ones such as solar panels and wind power plants. It’s not cheaper in the short run, but it is certainly more effective and greener than the traditional forms of energy-making.
For example, half a million panels were installed every day in 2015, while 2016 was the year they finally became cheaper and more accessible to people worldwide. They are even cheaper than wind turbines, so more people are now turning to the use of solar power for their households. Smart city councils also encourage the use of solar panels by citizens in the comfort of their own home.
The wind is another natural element that it is widely used for energy production. In China, two wind turbines are set up every single hour. In fact, China leads the way by being the indisputable global leader of renewable energy expansion.
Wind turbines have been used for some time now, especially by Scandinavian countries, where the weather is perfect for this type of energy-making. Scandinavian countries, like Denmark have long been known for their affinity for wind power plants – if you visit Denmark you will understand why it is very windy! In 2016, the market was led by China, the US, Germany, and India, with strong showings from France and Turkey, according to the report on annual market statistics developed by the Global Wind Energy Council which you can find here.
“Wind power continues to grow in double digits, but we can’t expect the industry to set a new record every single year”, said Steve Sawyer, GWEC Secretary General, in reference to the wind industry. The same field that in 2015 broke all records in China with the production of 30 GW for energy.
In terms of renewable power in general, a total of 153 gigawatts was installed in 2015, more than the entire generating capacity of Canada.
The only downfall of the renewables is the fact that they mostly depend on weather, which means that they don’t always generate at full capacity. That is why coal is still generating more power overall, with 40% energy production. Still, renewables have produced 43% of the energy, which is why we now can say that the future energy making will be solely based upon renewable energy. The IEA also forecasts that rapid growth concerning this field will continue the next year.
Many countries plan to fully rely on renewables in the next few years. Finland even plans on banning coal from energy making, while other countries plan on becoming carbon free by 2030.
In terms of the cities, the use of renewable power is already being implemented as part of the development towards smart cities, educating citizens in using more energy-efficient power and implementing environmentally-friendly laws that give room for renewables.