Article - Greenbyte

December 27, 2018 — Data Insights

2018: the renewable energy record-breaker

As 2018 draws to an end, it marks a record breaking year of growth for renewable energy. Generation went through the roof, investment interest is at an all-time high and coal starts to become a past issue. Greenbyte is bidding 2018 farewell and is looking back at all the broken records in our industry.

Sofia Pyrgioti
Marketing Coordinator, Greenbyte

1. Costa Rica runs on renewable energy for 300 days

The Central American country has come close to the golden number in the past 3 years, reaching 299 days in 2015, but it wasn’t until 2017 that Costa Rica reached 300 days. The record was topped in 2018, and even though renewables cover just electricity at the moment, the government has promised to go carbon-neutral by 2020. [1]

2. Renewable energy generation surpasses coal for the first time in Germany

2018 marks the a historic year in Germany as electricity from renewable energy sources amounts to 36.5%, surpassing the long-dominant coal generation, which totalled to 35.1%. Despite the country’s organized strategy for renewables, coal generation was the majority until this year, where a combination of solar, wind and biomass took the lead. [2]

3. Wind generates ⅓ of UK’s electricity for a glorious day

The last week of November found the UK in the midst of a storm that caused great inconvenience in infrastructure - wind energy excluded. On November 28th, wind farm output reached 14.9 GW , crashing all precious records and making wind the country’s dominant source of energy, amounting to 32% of generation. [3]

4. California hits record renewable output generation

California utility-scale solar output broke the previously held record of 10.5 GW, by generating 10,539 MW in late April. The joyous event was accompanied by another record, with demand covered by renewable energy at an astounding 73%; wind and solar energy lead output with 64% supply. [4]

5. Australia turns into a renewable goldmine

Australia, a global leader in renewable energy and this year’s storage headliner, broke their investment record with a shocking $26 billion, $6 billion of which are completed wind and solar projects. 83 projects of over 14.6 GW are in construction and 13,000 jobs are estimated to be created around them. [5]

6. Nail-biting bidding war draws offshore sales record in Massachusetts

An offshore wind lease became the Apple of Discord for 11 qualified, active bidders in Massachusetts - a number almost twice as high as the previous record of 6 in a New York project in 2016. Even though the bidding prices reached over $77 million, analysts note that it’s a sign of an established, secure market. [6]

7. May 2018 marked an all-time high for German solar

A consistently sunny May became a record breaker for Germany, as solar generation surpassed 5.9 TWh, a 16% growth from the previous record month. The astounding number contributed to a total of 13.1 TWh and a 22% increase in wind and solar electricity generation in comparison to May 2017. [7]

8. Almost 10% power share for non-hydro renewables in the US

USA smashed the non-hydro renewable output record by hitting 9.8% in the first half of 2018 only. Solar and wind were massive contributors, with a stunning 25% and 11% boost in generation respectively. [8]

9. UK: Coal-free for 1,000 hours

Yet another first for the UK, while the nation saw it’s grid go coal-free for a record 1,000 hours - more than 350 hours compared to 2017. Q3 saw reportedly the lowest ever share of fossil fuels - excluding Northern Ireland - amounting to 41% of total generation. The same number in 2010 was a scary 74%. [2, 9]

10. Renewable energy Incorporated - literally!

6 months in 2018 were enough to break the corporate renewable energy acquisition record. By July 2018, 7.2 GW of renewable energy were bought by corporations. By December, 6.43 GW are corporately-owned in the US alone, with Facebook leading the race, followed by AT&T, Walmart, ExxonMobil and Microsoft. [10, 11]

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