Renewable Power Potential Outshines Coal

renewables overtake coal

Renewable sources have been predicted to overtake coal in producing global electricity. According to the International Energy Agency, renewables will be generating 31% of electricity generated by 2025.

This prediction is a huge step towards solving climate change issues. The IEA’s report illustrates the rising use of renewables last year, which provided more than half of the global power capacity increase.

Pushing ahead of the curve as usual, China presents nearly 40% of this power expansion. They currently rank as the indisputable global leader for renewable energy growth, says IEA reports.

China has the world’s largest installation program for wind and solar energy with two turbines built every hour. To put that in perspective, that’s nearly doubling the turbine growth of their closest rival, the U.S.

solar energy in China

PHOTO: Wind Power Plants in Xinjian, China

The top growing renewable energy sources are wind, solar and hydro power. These resources present the most practical solution to fight global climate change.

The expanded capacity for renewable energy largely reflects the cost reductions of onshore wind and solar panels. These impressive reductions are would be considered “unthinkable just five years ago.”

What’s keeping these resources in the lead over coal is their power generating capacity. However, the actual percentage of electricity produced isn’t quite as impressive.

Though the developing usage of renewable energy sources is striking, they depend largely on the sunshine and the blowing winds. They’re intermittent sources, which inevitably leads to less generating capacity.

Despite such dependencies, wind and solar power are huge. The Executive Director of IEA, Fatih Birol, refers to development of renewables as a “transformation of global power markets.”

Use of renewable sources continues to grow and move towards emerging markets, says the IEA.

renewables around the world

PHOTO: Steam Rises from the Nesjavellir Geothermal Power Station in Iceland

Though coal is abundant and affordable, investment shares in coal and oil are falling back. Renewables are becoming even cheaper than coal.

According to IEA research, the declining cost trends for wind and solar power will continue. Countries around the world are catching on to environmental responsibility and renewable trends. It’s the increasing affordability makes it easier to jump onto this bandwagon.

The increasing affordability of renewables hugely impacts its capacity forecast. In addition to the financial incentive of renewable power sources, there is increasing government encouragement.

Many government agencies are creating further wallet appeal for clean power. The U.S. offers additional tax credits. Similarly, foreign policies in China, India and Mexico have adjusted to encourage clean power growth.

With attractive usage rates, wind and solar energy take center stage. Hydropower will continue growing in its capacity but most likely at a slower rate than before.

MOVING TOWARDS A CLEANER FUTURE

Looking to the future, IEA reports international goals for limiting climate change. Another huge ticket item on the global agenda is replacing fossil fuels for accelerated renewable penetration. Increasing the decarbonisation rates will boost power, transport and heat, while decreasing greenhouse gas waste products.

Carbon emissions can be reduced in two ways: on the supplier side or the consumption side. Energy suppliers could reduce CO2 output by moving away from fossil fuels and using more renewables. Consumers could either reduce consumption or utilize substitutions. An example of this would be biking to work instead of driving.

Coal energy generation has played a huge role in the global issue of harmful CO2 emissions and air pollution. The IEA believes foreign governments should put greater efforts into less polluting technologies. By embracing more efficient technologies, they can reduce the toxicity of coal use.