Renewables to make up 1/4 of world’s energy by 2018
Renewable energy is growing fast around the world and will edge out natural gas as the second biggest source of electricity, after coal, by 2016, according to a five-year outlook published Wednesday by the International Energy Agency. Developing countries are building more wind, solar and hydro-electric power plants to meet rising power demand and combat local pollution problems. And the costs of renewables are falling below the cost of traditional power sources such as coal, natural gas and oil in some markets with high-priced power. Renewable power, including hydropower, is the fastest-growing power generation sector, and it is expected to increase by 40 per cent in the next five years. By 2018, it will make up a quarter of the world’s energy mix, up from 20 per cent in 2011, the report said.
Eighty per cent of the renewable power generated in the world, however, is hydropower, a technology frowned upon by environmental groups and sustainability experts because it requires the construction of dams that can damage river ecosystems. Non-hydroelectric sources, such as wind, solar, geothermal and energy derived from plants, are also expected to grow quickly, but they contribute a far smaller amount of energy to the global mix. These technologies will supply eight per cent of the world’s energy by 2018, up from four per cent in 2011 and two per cent in 2006.