A record amount of new renewable energy capacity was installed. Total renewable capacity overtook coal. Yes, 2015 was a banner year for renewables according to a report published last week by the International Energy Agency.

In their “Renewable Energy: Medium-Term Market Report 2016” the IEA discusses how climate change, local air pollution, and energy security have become key drivers in a rapidly growing renewable energy industry. Moreover, in 2015:

  • Annual renewable electricity capacity growth reached an all-time record at 153 gigawatts (GW) – including record additions of onshore wind (63 GW) and solar photovoltaics (49 GW)
  • Solar photovoltaics (PV) and wind power accounted for almost two-thirds of the rise in renewable energy generation.
  • The United States surpassed the European Union in renewable electricity capacity growth for the first time.
  • China remained the “undisputable global leader of renewable energy expansion” as air pollution concerns and policy efforts pushed the country to install more solar and wind. But, the integration of these renewables into the grid remains an important challenge if China wants to bring this capacity online.  

Those interested in learning more can read the report’s Executive Summary and see a presentation by IEA Executive Director Fatih Birol for free at the following: