China Is Showing the World What Renewable Energy Dominance Looks Like

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A report shows that solar energy was the fastest-growing source of power past year, accounting for nearly two-thirds of net new capacity globally.The International Energy Agency said Wednesday that the rise was due to a boom in photovoltaic panel installations, particularly in China, thanks to a drop in costs and greater support from governments.

The predicted growth in renewable power capacity is now 12 per cent higher than it was in last year's prediction.

Net additions to renewable energy capacity in 2016, which include solar, wind, hydropower, bioenergy, wave and tidal, grew by 165 gigawatts (GW), six per cent more than in 2015.

For the first time, solar PV additions increased faster than any other fuel, eclipsing the net growth in coal.

The IEA said renewables will continue to show strong growth over the coming years with electricity capacity set to increase by more than almost 1,000 gigawatts (GW), or 43 per cent, by 2022.

Globally, China and India lead renewable capacity growth projections.

"What we are witnessing is the birth of a new era in solar PV [systems]", he said in a statement.

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India's moves to address the financial health of its utilities and tackle grid-integration issues drive a more optimistic forecast, according to IEA.

The share of renewables in power generation will reach 30 per cent in 2022, up from 24 per cent in 2016. Total solar PV capacity by then would exceed the combined total power capacities of India and Japan today, the IEA said.

In line with its recent determination to end up a victor in the renewable energy market, China led the way on building solar capacity.

The IEA report comes as Ottawa aims to drastically cut carbon emissions, largely by expanding renewable energy capacity. As Dr. Paolo Frankl, one of the lead authors on the report, said on a call to reporters, "In one year, China will install the equivalent of the total history of solar development in Germany".

In mid-2016 the Ontario government suspended the second phase of its Large Renewable Procurement (LPR) program, axing $3.8 billion in planned renewable energy contracts.

Solar PV and wind together represent 90 percent of India's capacity growth as auctions yielded some of the world's lowest prices for both technologies.

The International Energy Agency's annual outlook for renewable energy, released Wednesday, projects Canada's renewable capacity to grow by nine gigawatts between 2017 and 2022, down from last year's report that projected capacity would grow by 13GW.

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