Renewable energy is expanding faster than fossil fuels, and this is true in countries all over the world. This is promising news for climate change action, and for college students readying to enter the workforce. By preparing students for jobs in renewable energy, universities can provide a useful skill set in demand around the world.
According to Achim Steiner, the executive director of the United Nations Environmental Pogramme, renewables (wind, solar, tidal, geothermal heat, for example) made up almost half of the net power capacity added worldwide. Additionally, Jenny Chase, the chief solar analyst at Bloomberg New Energy Finance, forecasts that by 2030, new onshore wind and solar energy will be cheaper – and more readily available – than new or existing fossil fuels.
The United States and China top wind production, while Germany and China produced the most power from solar panels. Other countries, like Italy and Japan, also made impressive strides in increasing renewable energy capacity.
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Across the globe, renewable energy is expanding faster than fossil fuels. It’s even taking off in countries that may surprise you.
“Once again in 2014, renewables made up nearly half of the net power capacity added worldwide,” says Achim Steiner, executive director of the United Nations Environment Programme. After a two-year dip, they’re attracting more investment. Hydropower generates the largest share of renewable energy, followed by wind and biomass, but solar is growing the fastest.
Some countries are obvious leaders. The U.S. and China had the greatest installed capacity for producing power from wind in the last two years, while Germany and China had the most from solar panels, according to the U.S. Department of Energy and Ren21, an international nonprofit group.
Yet five smaller or developing countries are also showing their green potential.