By 2020, we’ll be generating more than a quarter of our energy from renewables

Keep soaking.
Keep soaking.
Image: Reuters/Bruno Kelly
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The Paris-based International Energy Agency (IEA) has released a new report predicting that the world is on track to generate 26% of its energy needs from renewable sources by 2020. Renewable energy production has been ramping up in just the past several years, and the IEA says 45% of overall additions to the world’s energy supply in 2014 came from renewables.

For this, the world can thank European countries—like Denmark and Germany—and China, whose $80 billion investment in renewables in 2014 equaled all of Europe’s and the US’s combined.

As of 2014, according to the IEA, the world was getting 22% of its energy from renewable sources, mostly wind, solar, and hydropower. Increasing that overall proportion to 26% within five years is impressive, but the IEA report also predicts that long-term, renewable energy use won’t accelerate as fast as it possibly could and may even slow down, jeopardizing global long-term goals for reducing carbon emissions.

That said, if the renewables market expands rapidly and substantially in developing countries, as some expect, the IEA says the long-term rate of acceleration it’s predicting now could turn out to be 25% faster.