The news on renewables just keeps getting better and better. But just ten years ago, the renewables landscape was remarkably different. Today the innovation cycle for renewables — solar and wind — is fast and moving at break-neck speed. Innovations in the solar industry are focused on increasing equipment efficiency to extract more energy from the sun.
Similarly, technological advances in the wind industry continue to build momentum as the race to transition away from fossil fuels accelerates. According to the Canadian Wind Energy Association (CANWEA), “every Canadian province is now benefiting from clean wind energy…This year, six per cent of Canada’s electricity demand is being met by wind power, enough to power over three million homes.”
Image: AdobeStock, Below2°C
Global Clean Energy is Big Business
Globally, clean energy is enjoying a spectacular growth period. Advanced Energy Economy (AEE) is a trade association of businesses working on clean smart energy. A report it commissioned shows that in 2016, advanced energy generated US$1.4 trillion in revenue, “nearly twice the size of the airline industry, equal to apparel, and close to global spending on media, from newspapers to movies to video games…”
Advanced Energy includes seven sectors — building efficiency, electricity delivery, transportation, fuel production, fuel delivery, electricity generation and combined heat and power. (Source: Vox/Clean energy is now as big as pharmaceutical manufacturing in the US, March 8, 2017)
Meet the Energy Transitions Commission
The Energy Transitions Commission is comprised of “leaders from Shell, BHP Billiton and General Electric Oil and Gas — in short, all-star oil and gas executives — and they have an unambiguous agenda: deep decarbonization,” according to Dan Woynillowicz of Clean Energy Canada. See their report: Better Energy, Greater Prosperity.
In his regular email blast, Dan labels the Energy Transitions Commission as one of “Clean energy’s unexpected boosters.”
Their new report focuses on two goals in particular: slashing carbon emissions and increasing energy access to the hundreds of millions of people who still need it. It’s hard to argue with that, or with many of their conclusions. For example, that “we must reduce carbon emissions by half by 2040 (compared to a business as usual scenario) with further cuts thereafter to achieve the Paris climate objective—limiting global warming to well below 2°C.” (Dan Woynillowicz)
The Private Sector Factor
Among Fortune 500 companies, nearly half have renewable energy targets. And among the top 100 companies, an impressive 63 per cent are buying and using clean energy, accoring to a new report.
Potential savings and sustainability goals prompted corporations to buy almost 3.7 gigawatts of power generated by clean-energy projects in 2015, and another 2.5 gigawatts last year, almost all from wind and solar, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance. (Source: Bloomberg new energy finance)
This post is the first in a series of “News on Renewables” which Below2°C will be featuring regularly.