From Stranger to Status Quo: How Renewable Energy Achieved a Political Coup
In 2017, wind and solar power were the fastest-growing energy sources on Earth, and they attracted more global investment – over $100 billion each – than any other power source, clean or dirty (Hirtenstein, 2018). Their costs have plunged, and their share of the global electricity mix is on the rise. Within the next 5 years, they could supply over 10 percent of the world’s power, up from virtually zero at the turn of the twenty-first century.1
Yet even though the explosive growth of renewable energy is a relatively recent phenomenon, its roots stretch far back into the twentieth century. As Aklin and Urpelainen document in their fascinating new book, Renewables, the seeds of the renewable energy boom were sown when a few pioneer countries made investments in renewables in the wake of the 1970s oil crisis. And it was never a sure thing that those seeds would ultimately bear fruit; in fact, the momentum behind renewable energy was at risk of withering on the vine. Had some countries not...
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