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The capacity to produce power through renewable sources has now overtaken that of coal, according to the International Energy Agency, marking a new milestone in efforts to combat climate change.
In a new report, the IEA has confirmed today that the huge investments made in renewable energy sources over the past few years by both western and developing countries has paid off, as the renewables sector accounted for more than half of the 15% increase in energy capacity worldwide.
The biggest increases were instigated by solar and wind power, both of which set new records in their production of electricity.
Last year, half a million solar panels were installed worldwide every day, according to the new report.
At this point, coal still produces more actual power than renewables, due to the intermittent nature of renewable energy sources.
For example, wind turbines can only produced power when there is wind to drive them, and solar panels can only harvest the sun’s energy when the sun is shining.
Even so, the fact that the capacity to produce so much green energy has increased to its current level reflects the efforts made by global leaders in recent times to reduce carbon emissions.
Countries which have introduced tax credits on renewable energy sources, such as the United States, have been one of the main driving forces behind the growth in green energy, as have countries which have implemented policy changes, such as India, Mexico and China.
China has been, by a long way, the world leader in the push towards going green.
The IEA report says that China “remains the undisputable global leader of renewable energy expansion, representing close to 40% of growth”.
In China alone last year, two wind turbines were installed every single hour.
The IEA’s Executive Director Fatih Birol said “We are witnessing a transformation of global power markets led by renewables”.