$5.1 trillion dollars is one very big number. It’s a figure equal to just a little less than one-third of the U.S. economy’s annual GDP. $5.1 trillion is the amount that will be invested by 2030 to build new power plants that use renewable energy, according to a Bloomberg News Energy Finance report. Out of 5,000 gigawatts of power generation capacity to be added worldwide by 2030, renewable power will account for 4,000 gigawatts—nearly 80 percent of all new capacity. The leading technology in these new clean energy installations will be solar power, say the Bloomberg analysts. They predict that solar will be economically competitive with other power sources by 2020.
Falling prices for solar cells are making this power source a profitable business that doesn’t depend on subsidies for support. Decreasing prices for wind turbines are also driving the growth of wind power. Solar and wind power’s combined share of global generation will rise to 16 percent of the world’s total by 2030, up from its current 3 percent, predicts the Bloomberg forecast. And the report notes that this growth is taking place despite the downsizing of incentives for renewable energy from the U.S. and German governments. Since 2011, annual investment in renewable energy technologies has totaled more than the dollars invested in fossil fuel power generation. This upward trend for clean energy shows every sign of continuing to rise.