LONDON: The past year has been full of great achievements for the clean revolution, from wind energy production records all around the world to huge increases in green investments.
While the pathway to reaching a low carbon economy is still long, the numbers give us more than one ray of hope. We have gathered our last five Clean Revolution Quick Facts to show how 2015 could be a tipping year for climate actions.
1) As predicted, clean energy investment rose for the first time in three years in 2014, as reported by Bloomberg New Energy Finance today. According to the researchers, the increase is due to China’s support for solar and wind energy. However, the fall of oil prices sparks concerns on future investments.
Funds for clean energy reached US$310 billion last year, an increase of 16% compared to about US$250 billion in 2013. Solar is leading the way, collecting almost half of investment with US$149.6 billion, a surge of 25% and its highest share of the total ever. Wind power also hit a record, growing 11% to US$99.5 billion thanks to large offshore projects.
2) Wind power is especially strong in Denmark, where last year it generated 39.1% of all the country’s electricity needs.
To put the number in perspective, in 2004 wind accounted for less than half this figure, 18.8%. In the first six months, it generated 41.2% of total electricity needs, data that puts Denmark on track to achieve its 2020 goal of being “a society free from dependence on fossil fuels”.
3) But wind energy is also growing in the UK, where it generated 28.1 terawatt-hours (TWh) of electricity, a rise of 14.7% from the 24.5 TWh gathered in 2013. This was enough to supply electricity for the needs of 6.7 million UK households, a quarter of the total, says RenewableUk.
In December, wind power broke another record totaling 14% of the electricity generation mix.
4) Wind was not the only clean source to break records: the whole mix of renewables accounted for 27% of all German electricity demand in first 4 months of 2014, according to Bloomberg. Clean energy sources produced 40.2 billion kilowatt-hours (kWh) of electricity from January to April, an increase of 12.6% compared to the 35.7 billion kWh of the same period in 2013.
Also, wind broke a new record in Germany this December, gathering 8.9 TWh in just one month.
5) Israel, Finland and the US are supporting and developing the most promising clean technology industries of the future, says Global Cleantech Innovation Index 2014.
The report shows how global yearly project finance investment in renewables is forecast to hit US$400-500 billion by 2020, with market size projected to rival the oil and gas equipment market by the end of this year, at US$330-$390 billion.