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The world is on target to get 26 percent of energy from renewables by 2020.

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Renewable energy is growing!

With the advent of more affordable technology and increased political pressure on clean sources of energy, it’s no surprise to learn that renewable energy is on the rise on a global scale. A new report projects that, by the year 2020, some 26 percent of the world’s energy will come from renewable sources. Considering that just a few decades ago, there was very little renewable energy in play, this will be a landmark achievement when the time comes. Powering over one-quarter of the Earth with renewable energy sources demonstrates a rate of growth unprecedented in other energy industries, and inspires a lot of hope for the decades to come.


The agency’s forecast is based on the assumption that the world will add 700 gigawatts (a billion watts) worth of renewable energy capacity over the next five years. That notion comes from looking at previous rates of capacity growth and charting future expectations. In other words, IEA notes, “By 2020, the amount of global electricity generation coming from renewable energy will be higher than today’s combined electricity demand of China, India and Brazil.”

Today, around 22 percent of the world’s energy comes from renewable sources – mostly solar, wind, and hydro. With an increase of roughly one percent a year from now until the end of the decade, we’ll break the one-quarter mark, adding enough clean energy to power the entire nation of Japan twice over.

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The next shock will come from clean energy. Solar and wind are now advancing on exponential curves. Every two years, for example, solar installation rates are doubling, and photovoltaic-module costs are falling by about 20 percent. Even without the subsidies that governments are phasing out, present costs of solar installations will, by 2022, halve, reducing returns on investments in homes, nationwide, to less than four years. By 2030, solar power will be able to provide 100 percent of today’s energy needs; by 2035, it will seem almost free — just as cell-phone calls are today.


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