Renewables have already overtaken fossil fuels, claim analysts

In terms of new installed energy capacity Renewables have overtaken fossil fuels say analysts. Photo credit: Random_fotos via Flickr.

By Anders Lorenzen

Renewables are not only expected to overtake fossil fuels at a future date. In fact, they have already done so.


This statement might be something you would expect to hear from Greenpeace, but it comes from the leading clean energy analysts, Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF).


While renewables still only comprise a very small portion of installed energy capacity, we’re now adding more renewables each year than fossil fuels, and that trend is set to continue, claim the analysts.


The information was presented in a keynote speech by founder, Michael Liebreich, at BNEF’s annual summit, in New York in April. “Despite the change in oil and gas prices there is going to be a substantial buildout of renewable energy, that is likely to be an order of magnitude larger than the buildout of coal and gas”, Mr Liebreich said.  


This historic shift had occurred already in 2013 when the world added 143 gigawatts (GW) of renewable capacity, compared to 141 GW for fossil fuels.This shift will continue to speed up, and in 2030 four times as much renewable energy capacity will be added.


Part of this revolution is due to the plummeting costs of solar and wind energy, which in some countries are already at grid parity, and in others are expected to be so in coming years.


But it was not all rosy news.The analysis also said we’re not spending as much money as is required if we are to stay below the two degrees increase in global temperature which would cause  dangerous climate change. In all the years since the financial crisis in 2008, the funding has fallen short of what is needed, with the worst years being 2008 and 2009.

But as we have reported, clean energy investments bounced back in 2014 after a dip in 2013, nearly matching the all-time high recorded in 2011. The analysts from BNEF will tell us soon enough if that trend is to continue in 2015. 

Related news:

Opinion: Don’t derail onshore wind


Solar takes leader position as renewables had a record year in 2014


Opinion: Why renewables will have a bumper 2015


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