Renewables eclipsed fossil fuels as the largest source of new power capacity added to US electrical grids in 2015, for the second year in a row. As much as 16GW of new clean energy was installed – equating to 68% of all new capacity. Wind farms took the largest chunk of the pie, with 8.5GW of new turbines installed, as developers sought to benefit from a federal tax credit set to expire at the end of 2016; subsequently extended by the US Congress for another five years last December. In Europe, wind power leapfrogged hydropower to become the third-biggest source of electricity in the EU last year. Energy generated from wind turbines accounted for 44% of new generating capacity, compared to 21% from gas, 17.5% from coal and 15.5% from hydro. Germany installed 47% of the 12.8GW of new wind capacity, followed by Poland, France and the UK respectively, according to the European Wind Energy Association. Europe’s offshore wind sector flourished last year, canceling out a dip in new onshore machines. In 2015, some $17bn was invested in utility-scale offshore wind projects in the region, compared to $10bn for onshore wind projects, according to data from Bloomberg New Energy Finance.
Renew Economy 10th Feb 2016 read more »