2015 – Renewable energy takes off

More than half of all new energy-generation capacity in 2015 came from renewable sources, as the world installed more than half a million solar panels a day and two wind turbines every hour. This is partly the result of years of campaigning by environmental and pressure groups.

Since the 1970s, environmental groups such as Friends of the Earth, Greenpeace and other pressure groups have campaigned for alternatives to a fossil fuel future, pushing their governments to prioritize renewable energies.

Some countries have started to make necessary conversions of their energy systems. Uruguay, for example, now gets 94% of its electricity from renewable resources. Costa Rica aims to be 100% renewable by 2021. Denmark aims to end fossil fuel burning in any form – not just for electricity but also transportation – by 2050.

In 2015, investment in solar, wind and hydropower was more than double that of gas and coal power plants. Between 2014 and 2020, the International Energy Agency (IEA) expects non-hydro renewable capacity alone to exceed new fossil fuel capacity each year, and forecasts that generating capacity from renewable energy (wind and solar PV) over the next 25 years will be double the additional capacity from coal under business-as-usual policies.

Around the world, as 2018 begins, local campaigners are pushing for thousands of cities, states and governments to go fossil-free, to ban all coal, oil and gas projects, to divest and defund them, and to commit to 100% renewable for all.

TNI is involved in a network called the Energy Democracy Network which advocates for renewable energy that is publicly owned, socially just, accessible to all, and which supports green unionised jobs.