Renewable energy is surpassing fossil fuels for the first time in new power-plant investments, shaking off setbacks from the financial crisis and an impasse at the United Nations global warming talks.
Electricity from the wind, sun, waves and biomass drew $187 billion last year compared with $157 billion for natural gas, oil and coal, according to calculations by Bloomberg New Energy Finance using the latest data. Accelerating installations of solar- and wind-power plants led to lower equipment prices, making clean energy more competitive with coal.
"The progress of renewables has been nothing short of remarkable," United Nations Environment Program Executive Secretary Achim Steiner said in an interview. "You have record investment in the midst of an economic and financial crisis."
Also to note: America needs to pick up the pace. With the renewal of the production tax credit now in doubt, certain knuckle-draggers in Congress may set us further behind the rest of the world.
As well as renewables spending exceeding that on new fossil plants, last year also was the first time expenditure in developing countries, mainly China, exceeded that in the industrialized world, Sawyer said, predicting both trends will continue.
The New Energy Finance figures exclude investment that merely replaces existing plants, and its renewables tally excludes money spent on building large hydropower projects.
C'mon kids. Time to get moving.