Every day new headlines highlight the limitless potential of renewable energy. The possibilities seem endless. The world’s energy use is only 16TWy (Terrawatts per year) compared to the sun’s 23,000 TW yearly capacity.
Once the renewable infrastructure is built, the fuel is free forever. Unlike carbon-based fuels, the wind and the sun and the earth itself provide fuel that is free, in amounts that are effectively limitless ~ Al Gore, Our Choice.
Solar Power Investment Surging
Credit: YouTube video, Here Comes The Sun, Feb 2018
In 2017, solar energy attracted more investment dollars than all other energy sources — more than natural gas, wind, nuclear or coal – according to a recent Frankfurt School-UNEP/Bloomberg report. “Last year was the eighth in a row that global investment in renewable exceeded US$200 billion,” notes the report. “This demonstrates the potential for renewable energy to fight climate change and boost economic growth.”
More money was invested in solar — $160.8 billion — than in any other source of energy, with more than 98 gigawatts installed globally in 2017. This is an 18% increase over the previous year. The total for all renewables was $280 billion, far exceeding coal and gas which added up to $103 billion.
“Investments in renewables bring more people into the economy, they deliver more jobs, better quality jobs and better paid jobs. Clean energy also means less pollution, which means healthier, happier development,” says Erik Solheim, head of UN Environment.
China in the Driver’s Seat
China leads widely in new solar investments adding 53 gigawatts of solar power in 2017. Its total investments in solar alone reached a whopping $86.5 billion, a 58% increase over 2016.
The combination of an aggressive carbon trading scheme and advances in renewable energy have allowed China to reach its 2020 target to cut carbon emissions a full two years ahead of schedule. Whereas most nations will struggle to meet their Paris emission targets, Canada being one of these, China is well on track to reduce its carbon emissions by unit of production by 60-65 percent by 2030.
Morocco – Enormous Solar Capacity
Morocco wants to be the Saudi Arabia of solar energy. It is now home of the largest solar plant in the world. Morocco seeks to take advantage of the limitless supply of sunlight to transition to a clean energy future. “As climate science and breakthrough technology disrupt the energy sector, Morocco is taking advantage of an abundant natural resource, unobstructed sunlight, to power part of the North African nation,” says Judy Woodruff of PBS Newshour.
The $9 billion plant is the size of the city of Paris. “It’s so vast that it can be seen from space,” comments special correspondent Monica Villamizar in the video shown below. With over 3,000 hours of sun each year, Morocco is set to have renewables provide nearly 50% of the country’s energy by 2020.
Standard YouTube Licence
Published Feb 20, 2018
Australia, Mexico, Sweden
In Australia solar was up 147% rising to $8.5 billion in 2017. Australia installed more than 3.5 million solar rooftop panels last year. That works out to an incredible 9,500 panels per day.
Mexico saw its solar investment rise to $6 billion, up over 800%, and Sweden was up 127% to $3.7 billion in 2017.
Since 2004, worldwide investment in renewable energy has reached nearly $3 trillion.
Canada Risks Falling Further Behind
As the world transitions to clean energy, Canada seems to be looking the other way and falling further behind. Instead, the Canadian government prefers to promote the expansion of the Alberta Tar Sands and the construction of the Kinder Morgan pipeline, a deeply controversial and divisive project.
During the 2015 climate talks in Paris, Prime Minister Trudeau announced that Canada would become a global climate leader. But climate leaders do not build pipelines. And his pledge to sink billions of taxpayer dollars to bail out a Texas-based pipeline company is a political risk that is sure to backfire on this Prime Minister.
With Kinder Morgan, Trudeau’s climate betrayal is now complete.
The nation that leads in renewable energy will be the nation that leads the world ~ James Cameron.