Global renewable energy surpasses coal in capacity to power

Renewable energy accounted for more than half of the additions to the world’s energy capacity last year, and overtook coal in terms of its ability to generate power, the International Energy Agency reported on Tuesday.

Propelled by a growing number of onshore wind farms and solar grids, renewable energy capacity in 2015 reached a record high of 153 gigawatts–more than the energy capacity of Canada. Most of the additions to renewable power systems are wind farms, according to the IEA’s Renewable Energy Medium-Term Market Report for 2016.

The report called China the “indisputable leader” of the world’s growth in renewable energy–it accounts for 40 percent of the additions to renewable power capacity–partially a result of the country’s attempts to counteract its heavy pollution.

By 2021, if the United States stays its course on renewable energy development, it will have the world’s second largest capacity for renewable energy production, the report said.

But challenges remain for the spread of renewable energy around the globe. Capacity for renewable power generation is expected to be higher in more developed parts of the world, such as in the United States and Europe. But additions to the renewable energy grid in Asia are not expected to keep up with demand for power.