Nicole Garman May 21, 2019

According to the International Renewable Energy Agency, or IRENA, 171GW of renewable energy was added to the global system in 2018. That made up two-thirds of the overall new power generation capacity added for the year and one-third of the world’s capacity in whole.

Wind and solar energy contributed 84% of the renewable sources, with solar seeing the largest growth for the year at an increase of 94GW in capacity. Most of these solar facilities were installed in Asia, which also hosted over 40% of new wind energy.

Wind accounted for 564GW in total, joining 1,172GW of energy from hydropower and 480GW of solar to register 2,351GW of renewable energy for the year.

The Price is Right

In part, such innovation can be attributed to record-breaking efficiency in production cost. For the first time, the industry saw renewables running a lower price tag in production than fossil fuels.

According to analysis and data culled from Bloomberg, The Frankfurt School, IRENA, and UN Environment by Kaiserwetter Energy Asset Management, fossil fuels generated energy costs ranging from $49 to $174 per MWh in 2017, while renewables logged rates from $35 to $54 per MWh over a comparable period of time.

Renewable energy programs have been growing for the past five years, bolstered by technological innovations that make wind and solar energy easy to access for both commercial and residential users.

Double Time

In U.S. cities alone, the Environment America Research and Policy Center reports doubled solar energy capacity in the last six years; Honolulu ranks as the top per-person producer at 646 watts per resident, and Los Angeles took top honors for overall installed capacity.

45 of the country’s 57 largest cities logged substantial numbers, with one-third tallying photovoltaic capacity at quadrupled rates.

Regional leaders for solar capacity per capita include Burlington, Vermont in the Northeast; Washington, D.C. in the South Atlantic; San Antonio, Texas in the South Central region; Indianapolis for North Central; and Las Vegas for the Mountain region.

Honolulu led the Pacific, leading the charge for Hawaii’s goal to transition completely to renewable energy sources by 2045.

In addition to advances in technology, effective public policy and passionate advocacy are credited for the earth-friendly energy surge.

  • This article was originally published on II Thomas.
  • Image Credit: lovelyday12 / Shutterstock.com
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