February 23, 2016
Milestones in wind and solar energy are coming every month, reflecting an acceleration in countries adding renewables to their power-generating mix.
This rise in alternative-energy generation might one day in the mid to long term help Europe wean itself off Russian gas.
One of the most recent reports involves wind overtaking nuclear in energy-generating capacity worldwide.
Another report deals with renewables accounting for two-thirds of the new power capacity that the United States added in 2015.
The world added 63 gigawatts of wind capacity in 2015, according to the Brussels-based Global Wind Energy Council.
That 17 percent surge over 2014 bumped wind-energy capacity worldwide up to 432 gigawatts, passing the 382 gigawatts of nuclear-energy capacity.
China has the largest wind-energy capacity — 145 gigawatts, double the second-place United States’ 74 gigawatts.
China is charging hard on renewables both to save money and to clean up its air pollution, which is choking cities such as Beijing.
Wind and solar accounted for 68 percent of the new generating capacity the United States added last year, according to a report from Bloomberg New Energy Finance.
The United States added 8.5 gigawatts of wind capacity and 7.3 gigawatts of solar capacity, Bloomberg said.
Public demand for cleaner air is driving the shift to renewables in the United States and the rest of the developed world.
Bloomberg noted that American utilities generated about 2 billion metric tons of carbon emissions in 2015, the lowest since 1995. That was 4.3 percent below 2014 emissions, it said.
Should these trends continue, the EU should consider how to use alternative energy to diversify its energy mix and move itself away from its dependence on Russian gas imports.Author : Ukraine Expert