It has always been the case that tackling climate change depends more on the actions taken on the ground than the ones in UNFCCC negotiating rooms. Climate solutions and climate talks are linked, to be sure, but this week the two intersected in what may be the strongest signal yet that the Clean Energy Age is upon us.
According to a new report by the International Energy Agency, new installations of emissions-free power last year surpassed fossil fuel sources.
Renewable power rose by 153 gigawatts, or 55 percent of all newly installed capacity last year and total installed capacity also exceeded coal for the first time.
“We are witnessing a transformation of global power markets led by renewables and, as is the case with other fields, the center of gravity for renewable growth is moving to emerging markets,” IEA Executive Director Fatih Birol told Bloomberg.
The move to renewables began accelerating before the Paris Agreement was inked last December, but this news coming ahead of the what will be the fist meeting of parties to the agreement next week in Marrakech, is likely to further embolden investors.
Renewables will be the world’s fastest-growing source of electricity over the next five years, according to the report, according to the IEA.
In fact, the group upped its estimate of the amount of clean energy on power grids by 13 percent, revising its forecast to 42 percent by 2021. About 500,000 solar panels were installed each day across the globe in 2015, according to the report.
The report also comes on the heels of China’s decision to shutter coal plants and mines. According to the repot, the nation is seen “as the undisputed global leader” in renewables and is expected to account for some 40 percent of the growth in the coming years. Last year, China’s installation was the equivalent of two wind turbines every hour.