Despite Turmoil in Energy Markets, the Shift to Clean Energy Is Gaining Steam


For the first time, the world is on pace to invest more in wind and solar power than in oil and gas drilling. Analysts say the clean energy transition is gathering momentum despite recent tumult in the market.

Investments in renewables are set to reach $494 billion in 2022, more than the $446 billion put toward oil and gas extraction this year, according to Rystad Energy, an independent energy research firm.

The International Energy Agency predicts that 2022 will see record installations of renewable power, with an estimated 340 gigawatts added globally, an amount roughly equal to the installed power capacity of Japan, the world’s third-largest economy. This year will also see record sales of electric cars, which are projected to make up 13 percent of all light-duty vehicle sales worldwide.

DNV, an energy research firm, says that the current turbulence in the global energy market has done little to slow the shift to clean power, projecting that global spending on renewables will double over the next 10 years. “The strongest engine of the global energy transition is the rapidly reducing costs of solar and wind energy, which will outweigh the present short-term shocks to the energy system,” CEO Remi Eriksen said in a statement.

An analysis from Bloomberg Green found that 87 countries are now drawing at least 5 percent of their power from wind and solar, a critical tipping point at which emerging technologies become more widely adopted. The U.S. reached 5 percent wind and solar in 2011 and surpassed 20 percent last year. If the U.S. follows trends set by Denmark, Ireland, and other renewable-energy pioneers, wind and solar will supply half of U.S. power in a decade, Bloomberg reports.

“There are more signs than ever that the new global energy economy is advancing strongly,” the IEA’s executive director Fatih Birol said in a statement. “This reaffirms my belief that today’s global energy crisis can be a turning point towards a cleaner, more affordable and more secure energy system.”


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