Worldwide Revolution in Renewable Energy is Good News for the Ocean.
Renewable energy technologies have grown so competitive and widespread that they are reshaping common perceptions of climate change mitigation. “Saving the climate is too difficult and too costly” is becoming “We can do this!”.
And its coming none too soon, since we now know that “2016 was the Hottest Year in Recorded History.”.
Here’s what’s happening…
The US Department of Energy’s recently published “Revolution Now: Update 2016 Report” says that we have reached a turning point for renewable energy.
Over 50% of the World’s New Power Capacity in 2015 was Renewable Energy
According to the report, more than 50% of the world’s new power capacity in 2015 was renewable energy and now makes up 1/3 of global electrical capacity.
500,000 solar panels were installed every day.
According to the Renewable Energy Policy Network, by mid-2016, new worldwide investments in renewables exceeded new investments in fossil fuel projects. Leading the changeover are China, India, Brazil, the United States, with many developing countries following suit. With declining oil prices, the mainstream finance community sees the growth opportunity is found investing in green energy. (photo – CBC News)
Good News for the Health of the Oceans
This is good news for the ocean environment since fossil fuel emissions are being targeted as the man-made culprits of severe weather events, sea level rise from melting polar ice caps, coral bleaching from ocean warming and ocean acidification from absorption of excessive C02.
See the BlueOcean.net article: “Great Barrier Reef Poster Child for Ocean Warming and Dirty Fuel in 2016”
Falling Renewable Energy Costs are deep-sixing Fossil Fuels.
Clean energy prices have fallen 94% in the past 8 years due to big leaps in research and investments. In 2016, renewables have started to out compete fossil fuels, according to Sierra Club’s campaign, “Ready for 100.” Falling costs and rising installations in wind and solar are making these renewable energy costs cheaper than fossil fuel, according to clean energy research firm, the Mercom Capital Group.
Solar Triples in the U.S.
In the US alone, wind and solar accounted for 66% of all new energy capacity. By the end of 2017, US solar power will have tripled in three years, according to the US Department of Energy. Even with the specter of losing the federal investment tax credits for solar, and wind production tax credits under President-elect Trump, solar and wind industry leaders aren’t worried. According to industry experts, business models are changing, and the thriving clean energy sector’s successes have little to do with policy or politics: It’s about falling production prices, access to finance capital and growing markets for clean energy. (image – Ikea solar panels)
See BlueOcean.net article: “Impressive Progress Made in US Renewable Energy”
Breaking News: EcoWatch, Feb. 2, 2017 Solar Employs More Workers Than Coal, Oil and Natural Gas Combined
Top Carbon Emitters Way Ahead of the US in Renewables
On the world stage, energy renewables are impacting two other top carbon emitters. India is expected to be one of the world’s fastest growing markets for renewables. India is setting its targets high and estimates it will exceed Paris Climate Accord Agreement Targets three years ahead of schedule with an estimated 60% of its energy coming from renewable sources by 2027. The Paris accord target was 40% by 2030.
India’s Advances may stop Australia Coal Industry Expansion.
The Indian Government’s draft energy plan puts no new coal-fired power stations on the books until at least 2027, putting a big question mark on the Adani mining company’s Carmichael mine in Queensland. Hailed as the largest coal mine to be built in Australia, the Carmichael mine has already been deemed as the biggest threat to the Great Barrier Reef after climate change. image by © Ashley Cooper/Corbis
See BlueOcean.net article on the Carmichael Mine: Cash Cows Clash over Last Ditch Effort to Dig Australian Coal”
China record-breaking investment in renewable energy.
China has shown the most dramatic switch to renewable energy with a record-breaking shift away from coal and is the world’s leader in clean energy. According to the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA), China increased its grid-connected solar capacity by almost 75%, which has brought about a 30% drop in coal imports in the past year. (China hit peak coal usage in 2013). China installed two wind turbines every hour in 2016 and accounted for nearly half of the world’s wind additions and 40% of all renewable capacity increases. (image – Ethical Corp.)
Brazil’s Wind Power capacity ranked in the Top 10
Brazil scores high for renewable energy production with over 70% of its power coming from hydro-electric dams. In the last decade, severe droughts have caused severe energy shortages and rationing, prompting the country to diversify away from water power. With its windy coasts, Brazil has been expanding into wind power, with the most wind capacity in South America and ranked 10th in the world. What has been slowing down its clean power investments in 2016 is a lagging economy and political scandal: the country is in the biggest recession in 30 years, its President ousted for corruption and its credit rating down leveled to junk by Moody’s. (image – Portal Brazil)
Solar Power in Paradise
Tesla’s test project to power paradise with solar has been launched in the American Samoa island of Ta’u. This may lead to more sunny nations being powered by solar energy microgrids that can produce nearly 100% of an island’s electricity needs like it is doing now in Ta’u. Lower cost, lower environmental impact, and consistent energy availability are reasons Pacific and Caribbean islands should take note of the incredible advancements in solar technology happening now. (image – Tesla)
See BlueOcean.net’s article: “Tesla’s Astonishing Transition in 2016 is Ocean Friendly”
EU Behind the Curve
The International Energy Agency announced that the EU will be a world laggard in renewables, falling behind the US and China, and won’t meet its Paris Climate Accord commitments if it doesn’t increase investments in renewables.
Imke Lübbeke, head of climate and energy at WWF’s European policy office, says. “The global energy transition is accelerating, but the EU is asleep at the wheel, missing out on the opportunities this could bring for our economy, job creation and health.”
Canada muddy about clean energy.
Over 60% of the power used by Canadians is hydro-electric power and it is in a strong position to expand its wind and solar utilities, but is being held back by its own golden goose: With huge oil reserves and a powerful oil industry that sells to the U.S. and China., fossil fuels are a strong driver in the Canadian economy, tax system and energy policy. As the popularity of green energy increases, Canada has yet to put emphasis on alternative energy investments. Approval of two pipelines in 2016 placed Canada’s government under scrutiny by climate campaigners and First Nations groups who question the Trudeau government’s ability to meet its commitments to the Paris Climate Change Agreement. In spite of years of coast-to-coast protests, the Liberal government approved the highly controversial Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain line from Alberta’s tar sands to the Pacific coast, along with the expansion of the Enbridge Line 3 to the U.S.. (image – The Province.com)
South Africa is in the Top 10 for Solar Power
In 2010, South Africa had zero renewable power, but in just six years has increased the portion of renewable power to 5% of installed capacity. South Africa is the largest wind energy producer on the African continent, and in the top 10 globally for installed, utility-scale solar capacity. The government aims to reduce the share of fossil fuels in the energy mix from 86.5% in 2010 to 57% by 2030. (image – Greenpeace.org)
It’s not about policy. It’s about economics. Green energy just makes financial and environmental sense.
The Sierra Club collaborated with Google’s Project Sunroof — a new mapping tool to help you see the solar potential of your home — to raise awareness for moving to 100% clean energy. Find out more about it at www.sc.org/28K1idY.
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