A Scan of Critical World Developments
Solar Surge: Sunny News in Dark Times
Despite all the political setbacks, 2016 was not without positive news. Take, for example, the continued surge of renewable energy. Notably, the cost of solar energy has dropped so much that it is now, on average, the cheapest option across a group of 58 emerging markets, including China, India, and Brazil. The average price of solar generation narrowly undercut that of wind energy for the first time, and in Chile, for example, solar electricity sold for half the price of coal. Falling equipment costs, new battery technology, and increased investment made 2016 a sunny year for solar. Investment in renewable energy in emerging markets now exceeds that of OECD nations, and globally, new installations now exceed all other forms of new power generation. Such progress is worth celebrating, but it is no time for resting on laurels: the transition to a decarbonized energy system must be rapidly accelerated if we are to maintain a livable planet. The technology is at hand, if only the politics can be turned.