What you’re about to see below reflects the most powerful energy trifecta the world has ever seen. It’s changing the entire landscape of how we’re powering life on planet Earth.
Renewable energy investing is finally an unstoppable trend in a world that has no choice but to shape up or hunker down for catastrophe (gee, thanks global warming!).
Renewables have been completely re-energized in the past two years. Global green energy investments surged 17% to $270 billion in 2014.
The U.S. Department of Energy estimates that by 2050, the world’s population will reach 9.4 billion, and per capita income will double. Energy demand will, hence, double. And no longer are the usual suspects — fossil fuels — going to power the economic powerhouses of the future.
Let’s Talk Green-Growth
Bloomberg just ran a feature story entitled, “The Way Humans Get Electricity Is About to Change Forever.” Growth is accelerating exponentially in the wake of lowered solar prices coupled with an alarmingly bleak climate crisis.
Indeed, solar billions are rapidly soaring into the trillions.
The renewable energy boom is roaring on as we anticipate a staggering $8 trillion, or two thirds of the world’s spending, on new power capacity over the next two-and-a-half decades, to go toward renewables. Approximately $3.7 trillion in solar investments between now and 2040.
The three largest areas of investment will include wind power (~$2.1 trillion), hydroelectric (~$1.5 trillion), and solar photovoltaics (~$1.3 trillion).
As the above chart from SunEdison Inc (NYSE: SUNE) — a global manufacturer and retailer of solar panels — illustrates, the IEA’s estimates may prove to be conservative, as global solar installations through 2020 are expected to be $1 trillion.
A Quick Look at Supply Status
Major expansion of solar installations in China and Japan and record investments in offshore wind projects in Europe helped propel the global 2014 investments to $270 billion (hence, the aforementioned 17% surge from the 2013 figure of $232 billion).
The United Nations Environment Programme elaborates:
It was the first annual increase in dollars invested in and committed to renewables (excluding large hydro-electric projects) in three years, a total just 3% below the all-time record of $279 billion set in 2011. The falls in the investment figures for 2012 (to $256 billion) and 2013 (to $232 billion) were attributed in part to lower prices for renewable energy technologies due to economies of scale.
The 103Gw of generating capacity added around the world made 2014 the best year ever for newly installed capacity, according to the UNEP’s 9th annual “Global Trends in Renewable Energy Investments” report, prepared by the Frankfurt School-UNEP Centre, and Bloomberg New Energy Finance.
A continuing sharp decline in technology costs – particularly in solar but also in wind – means that every dollar invested in renewable energy bought significantly more generating capacity in 2014.
The UK’s National Trust also announced…