Renewable energy represented more than half of all new power capacity in '15

Wind turbine power is projected to supply up to 20% of global electricity by 2030

Renewable energy represented more than half the new power capacity in the world in 2015, reaching a record 153 gigawatts (GW) -- 15% more than the previous year, according to a new report.

Most of the gains were driven by record-level wind additions of 66GW and solar photovoltaic (PV) installations of 49GW, according to the the report from the International Energy Agency (IEA).

Renewable energy U.S. Department of Energy

The IEA projects global renewable electricity capacity will grow by 42%, or around 825GW by 2021. That's up 13% from the IEA's projections in 2015.

Wind accounted for 41% of all new electrical generation capacity installed in the U.S. in 2015, according to the the U.S. Department of Energy's Revolution Now: Update 2016 report. In 2015, total utility-scale solar power capacity in the U.S. grew 43% over 2014, reaching nearly 14,000 megawatts (MW).

The report also noted the price of renewables has fallen by as much as 94% in the last eight years due to "huge strides in research and investment."

Renewable energy generation costs now range from $30 per megawatt hour (MWh) to $50 MWh for both onshore wind and solar PV. Utility-scale solar power costs are expected to drop by about 25% from now through 2021. Onshore wind generation costs are expected to drop 15% on average by 2021.

renewable energy wind power U.S. Department of Energy

The cost of power from wind turbines.

India is expected to be one of the world's fastest growing markets for renewables. Along with China, it is planning to deploy 100GW of new solar power between now and 2022.

For example, the India Oil Corp. and Oil India just announced $3.1 billion worth of projects to develop 2.7GW of new solar power capacity in that country.

The global wind industry had another record year in 2015. Overall, by the end of 2015, about 433GW of wind power was being generated around the globe, 17% more than in 2014; and wind power supplied more new power generation than any other technology, according to the Global Wind Energy Council.

solar power renewable energy U.S. Department of Energy

The cost of solar power from utilities.

In the U.S. there are nearly 2,800 electric power-generating sources producing 4.1 terawatt hours of energy. (A terawatt is equal to 1,000 gigawatts.) The country's 49,000 wind turbines account for 4.7% of the country's electricity production, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

The U.S. is the single largest market in terms of total installed wind capacity after China. The U.S. market added 4,000 new turbines for a total of just under 8.6GW in 2015, and its total installed capacity reached 74.4GW, according to the Global Wind Energy Council's (GWEC) semi-annual Global Wind Energy Outlook.

Renewable energy wind power Global Wind Energy Council

Worldwide, the total installed wind turbine energy capacity is expected to reach just over 879GW by 2020 and 2.1TW by 2030, according to the GWEC's report. By 2050, global wind installations could reach 5.8TW.

Wind energy accounted for almost 31% of all new generating capacity installed in the U.S. over last 5 years, and provided more than 31% of the electricity in Iowa; 25% in South Dakota; and 12% or more in a total of nine states.

Renewable energy employs more people per unit of electricity than oil or gas. More than 1 million people worldwide are employed by the wind industry alone, a 5% increase over last year. Wind employment in the U.S. rose by 21% in 2015 -- 12 times faster than overall job creation in the US economy, according to the GWEC's report.

"If we double the global share of renewables by 2030, renewable energy employment would exceed 24 million people worldwide," the report stated.

Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags renewable energy

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Lucas Mearian

Computerworld (US)
Show Comments

Essentials

Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive

Learn more >

Mobile

Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive 

Learn more >

Exec

Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards 

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive 

Learn more >

Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450

Learn more >

Budget

Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?