When you’re the average consumer, it can be frustrating watching time and money invested in oil in the volatile Middle East, while there are plenty of clean sources of energy in our own back yards. But surprisingly, the efforts of 2015 have been tabulated, and apparently it was a great year for renewable energy, but bad for oil investments.
Oil and gas are two contentious topics for every country in the world today. Not only are they bad for the environment, but the UN—United Nations—had a huge climate change conference in Paris this year, requiring a commitment from major countries to curb greenhouse gasses and find clean sources of energy. On April 22, 2016, countries around the world signed a historic climate accord, which includes Canada, USA, and China, some of the world’s top greenhouse gas producers.
On top of that, there is great conflict in the Middle East, with many Western world citizens being hesitant in supporting the wrong side. In the US, New York state banned fracking, while Canada has been having her own battles with keeping pipelines from extending from the coastline to Alberta. In Alberta, there is an oil recession happening, as no one wants to buy the high cost containers, resulting in thousands of workers laid off.
Can it be that someone is listening? 2015 was definitely been a turning point in the fight against climate change.
The world’s consumption of good renewable energy increased in 2015 by about 8.3 percent, or 152 gigawatts, according to an Abu Dhabi-based non-profit organization: International Renewable Energy Agency.
Renewable energy has increased in markets around the globe, even though there were some lower oil and gas prices in 2015. It’s estimated that over $286 billion were invested in renewable energy resources in 2015.
These investments have sent a strong message to potential investors and policymakers around the world, renewable energy is not only important, it’s preferred. Costs have also been decreasing for renewable energy sources. Just look at how solar panels have decreased in cost, and even wind turbines.
There have been some alternate sources of energy explored. Solar energy has increasing becoming popular. This type of energy grew by 47 gigawatts last year, or over a 26 percent increase from the previous year. This was aided by the cost of photovoltaic panels decreasing by 80 percent.
Wind turbines have also required a second look, even though they’re a tougher sell. Consumption grew by 63 gigawatts or a 17 percent increase. Onshore turbine costs dropped a significant 47 percent since 2010, though people are still enamoured by solar energy instead.
Other potential sources of renewable energy include water energy, biological byproducts from food waste, sugarcane or farming, and geothermal energy. Apparently hydropower sources increased by 35 gigawatts last year, about 3 percent. Bioenergy rose by 5 gigawatts and 5 percent. Geothermal energy increased by 1 gigawatt or by 5 percent.
Even in the consumptive society of the USA, renewable energy resources in 2015 were about 68 percent of this new power capability. This was according a report by Bloomberg New Energy Finance.
2014 and 2015 were both landmark years. In both years, renewable resources outdid fossil fuels in terms of new projects. A lot of the increase has also been due to better government support, as evidenced by the signing of the climate accord.
Many large businesses are also taking notice that there could be a strong business case for developing renewable energy. Not only could this become the fastest growing economy in the world, but it could also be what is need to give a boost to the economies of developing countries.