04 Jan

Global renewable electricity capacity has an interesting growth rate hinted at in chart

“The National Renewable Energy Lab (NREL) released a report – 2012 Renewable Energy Data Book – in October of 2013 regarding the status of renewable energy globally and in the US. The report has an abundance of great charts and, in reading through the pages, I discovered that renewable energy accounts for 23% of all electricity generation worldwide (4,892 TWh) (on page 41). I’ve brought out a few of the relevant charts and findings. I hope you enjoy them as much as I do.”

(Via NREL: 23% Of Global Electricity Generation Supplied By Renewable Sources | CleanTechnica.)

Lots of interesting stuff here. Including this chart:


Wind and solar has gone from a rather much smaller part of the column stack in 2000 to alternative energy being 25% of the stack in 2012. We need more, but the trend seems to be establishing itself.

Cleantechnica says:

The installed global renewable electricity capacity doubled between 2000 and 2012, and represents a significant and growing portion of the total energy supply both globally and in the United States.

So if renewables are doubling every decade (growing at the chart’s pace), there’s a pretty good chance renewables will dominate by ~2022 and by 2034 at this growth rate. Which very few people are wrapping their heads around.

It’s a big if. Growth could stall. But wind is getting cheaper. Solar is getting cheaper at a predictable rate, like Moore’s law. And if there’s one thing we know from cellphones, the rate at which digital tech spreads it’s vastly faster than large infrastructure.

Seriously, if I showed this graph and said ‘the blue and orange are new tech companies with a new device’ everyone would be like ‘where the fuck do I invest and how.’

Solar’s like computers. For a while it’ll just be uber-nerds that are into it (green types, off the gridders). Then it’ll be everywhere and people will be like ‘what the fuck just happened?’

Doesn’t mean oil goes away. We still need it for plastics. But it’s still more dramatic than I realize every time new info comes out about renewables growth.

Here’s another headline, I realize. The amount of installed alternative energy electricity production in 2012 equals almost half of all the energy the entire world needed in 2000.