On the campaign trail, many candidates tend to portray the clean energy revolution as a pie-in-the-sky idea, with new investments needed in oil and gas drilling while we wait for a technological fix to solve our energy and global warming challenges. Former Florida governor Jeb Bush, for example, has said that the next clean technology breakthrough and solution to global warming will happen through the work of “someone in a garage somewhere” who will “have an answer to this.” However, according to a new report published on Thursday, the U.S. is way past the garage phase. In fact, we are now in the midst of a far more rapid shift away from fossil fuels, such as coal, to renewables, including solar and wind power, than anyone has realized, including the candidates for president. In 2015, the majority of new power added to the electrical grid came from renewable sources, primarily wind and solar, according to a sustainable energy report from Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF), which is a division of Bloomberg LP that tracks energy trends around the world. “2015 clearly marked a turning point for american energy,” said Ethan Zindler, who leads the Americas division for BNEF, during a press conference. “We have entered a new era here in the United States.” Zindler pointed to the fact that natural gas has nearly overtaken coal as the biggest source of electrical power in the U.S., while wind and solar have increased by 57% above 2008 levels. Energy developers installed 16 gigawatts of clean energy in 2015, which comprised nearly 70% of all new generating capacity, the report says. This was the second year in a row that renewables overtook fossil fuels for the top spot on the energy growth list. Among renewables, wind led the pack, with 8.5 gigawatts of new electrical generation installed, while solar added 7.3 gigawatts of new generating capacity. The growth in solar was a 13% increase from 2014, BNEF said.
Mashable 4th Feb 2016 read more »