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UNEP: Renewable Energy Surpassed Conventional Electricity in 2015

The annual report from the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) revealed that renewable energy (solar, hydro, wind) has topped the usage of conventional technologies in 2015, for the first time in history.

Compared to 106 gigawatts of added renewable power in 2014, it has increased to 134 gigawatts last year, due to its declining generating costs per megawatt-hour, especially in solar photovoltaics.

Government support has been evident in all US states, making it easier to reach the 100% US target for renewable power.

Although, Florida may have lost its top spot in list of US states utilizing renewable energy in 2014 (no. 16), it has been working on regaining or even surpassing its 2001’s no. 4 spot and live up to its ‘Sunshine State’ name.

New clean energy amendments (HJR 193) have been recently passed by Florida legislators to allow the people to decide whether or not to allow businesses with two different tax breaks when installing solar panels on homes and properties. A companion measure (HB 195) was also passed to allow the Legislature until next year to establish the necessary rules to implement tax credits for homes with renewable energy devices.

However, it might take a while to get people to make the switch, especially when the prices of oil and gas affect the value of basic commodities including the rate of conventional electricity.

Despite the unstable price of oil and gas globally, it remains the most common source of power in the state of Florida. Oil production in the state was also affected by the continuous drop in crude prices, forcing many companies to shut down.

However, in other parts of the world such as Iraq, extraction of oil and gas continues, especially in West Qurna, despite the problem of oversupply. An Iraqi business news report states that oil and gas solutions related to engineering, construction, maintenance, and repairs of gas treatment sites remain strong in the area – a proof that the industry is not dying as some may assume.

Although, the $50 a barrel target by the end of the year looks impossible, according to some analysts. It might take at least until mid-2017 to get the prices within its normal range of $50 to $60 a barrel and around three years, until it gets to the range of $60 to $80 a barrel, said Kuwait Petroleum International (KPI).

By then, it is expected that growth in the usage and adoption of renewable energy will have increased. The UNEP annual report mentioned that an unprecedented $286 billion was invested in green energy worldwide last year, where a bulk of the 134 gigawatts of renewable power has been contributed by developing nations, such as China and India.

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