Renewable energy in 2016 – the many milestones so far

From the Paris Agreement to record-breaking generation of wind power, 2016 has been a year of significant renewable energy milestones. Therefore, as we enter the final quarter of 2016 we thought this was a good chance to take a look back at what has been a momentous year so far for the energy industry, and the fight against the negative effects of climate change:

  • COP21 Conference – The COP21 conference in December last year meant that 2016 kicked off with countries at the Paris Climate Change Summit agreeing on a target to cut 60% of total emissions by 2030.
  • 2016 began with news that it had been a record-breaking year for wind energy in 2015. Statistics from the National Grid showed that wind energy provided 11% of UK electricity in 2015, compared to 9% the previous year.
  • Renewable energy sources including wind, solar, hydroelectric and biomass generated 25% of the UK’s electricity supply according to a report released in 2016.
  • Ratification of Paris Agreement – On 22nd April the momentous High-level Signature Ceremony took place for the agreement drawn up at COP21. This is known as the Paris Agreement, and was signed by 175 countries around the world. You can find a list of those countries here.
  • The ‘Business End of Climate Change’ report announced this year that the private sector could cut greenhouse gas emissions globally by 3.7 metric tons of CO2 a year by 2030. This is the first time that a figure has been put on what emissions reductions could be achieved by businesses worldwide.
  • Record levels of renewable energy spending took place in June 2016. Investments in renewables during the year were more than double the amount spent on new coal and gas-fired power plants, according to the Renewables Global Status Report.
  • Portugal running on renewables – Portugal reached the zero-emission milestone in May as it ran on renewable energy alone for 4 days straight. The country was powered by just solar, wind, and hydro-generated electricity for 107 hours.
  • 756GW – the figure that the global solar market was tipped to hit by 2025 in June, according to new research from analysts GlobalData. This came with the announcement that the world’s lowest cost solar farm developments will begin in Dubai.
  • The Financial Times reported in August that the share of electricity that the world’s 20 major economies are generating from the sun and the wind has jumped by more than 70 percent in the space of five years, according to a report by Bloomberg New Energy Finance.
  • According to statistics published by the Department of Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy, UK Solar PV Capacity increased by 29% between 2015 and 2016, to 10,799MW.
  • Theresa May’s new cabinet – The spotlight is on Theresa May now to continue to ensure that the measures to combat climate change are carried out. Key objectives included ensuring the UK sources 15% of its energy from renewable sources, that every car and van is a zero emission vehicle by 2050, planting another 11 million trees, creating a ‘Blue belt’ for our oceans and ensuring that every home and business in the country has a Smart Meter by 2020.