About 147 gigawatts (GW) of renewable energy capacity was added globally in 2015, roughly equivalent to Africa’s electricity generating capacity from all energy sources. Most of this capacity was for solar and wind. For the first time, emerging economies spent more than the developed economies on renewable electric power and fuels. China, the US, Japan, the UK and India added the largest share of renewable power.

The International Energy Agency reported installed renewable energy capacity now provides about 23% of global electricity production.

Renewable energy is now the leading source of electricity generation in Europe, providing 44% of total European Union capacity in 2015.

Marine renewable energy (ocean wave and tidal technologies) accounts for 562 megawatts (MW) of global renewable energy capacity or just 0.03% of global renewable electricity generation.

The International Energy Agency estimates the cost of decarbonizing the fossil fuel electric power sector to limit a global temperature increase to no more than 2°C  will cost the world $9 trillion between 2016 and 2050. To achieve this goal the IEA says the equivalent of 22 new nuclear generating plants must be added every year through 2050.

Chile has the most solar capacity in South America with 500 MW of installed capacity. Peru is second with only 100 MW. However, because Chile’s solar capacity has expanded so rapidly it is giving electricity away for free. Chile’s problem is that it has two electric grids in the country (north and central) and they are not connected to each other. When one of the grids has a lack in demand (as the north does now do to slumping copper demand), the grid is oversupplied and has no way of moving the electricity off of the grid.  So power plants are forced to give the power to its customers for free. The country plans to fix this problem by 2017 by constructing a 3000 kilometer (1,865-mile) transmission line to link the the two grids.

The subway system (metro) in Santiago, Chile plans to be the first in the world to operate solely on solar energy. The city has entered into an agreement with solar manufacturer Sun Power to purchase 300 gigawatt-hours of solar energy each year to power its public transit system. They system currently transports 2.2 million passengers per day.

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