The global push to establish renewable sources of energy reached a remarkable milestone last year as industry data released by WindEurope showed that new installations of renewable energy sources represented a majority of the power added, the combination of wind, solar, biomass, and hydro amounting to 86% of all new power added. The largest gains among this field of renewable sources were seen in wind power, which become the European Union’s second largest form of power capacity, exceeding coal and trailing only gas.
With new installations totaling €27.5 billion in investments across Europe, the active political push in nations committed to achieving stringent targets set for 2020 has successfully incentivized new constructions and encouraged investment. However, experts fear that this activity may die down once the urgency of 2020 targets dissipate, as few countries have yet to set any subsequent targets to channel this development.
Nonetheless, the Director-General of the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), speaking at the agency’s 7th General Assembly in Abu Dhabi in January, gave room for hope. In his address, the Director-General Adnan Z. Amin noted the record levels of investment in renewables and the declining cost of its production as signs of a growing momentum. Furthermore, a 2016 study showed that renewable energy had employed some 8.1 million people across the globe in 2015, making it one of the fastest growing sectors in terms of both employment and investment.