Look. We know what people are saying. “Make it stop” they cry. “When will it end” they fret. And to some extent, we know what they mean. There has been a huge amount of upheaval and tumult in 2016. Put it this way: any year when we lose both Prince and David Bowie is pretty rubbish, and that’s before you get to the geo-politics. Brexit and the election of Donald Trump mean the only certainty in 2017... is more uncertainty.
But the sun is setting on 2016. (Having powered some serious solar throughout the year.) And the truth is, when you look back at efforts to eradicate climate change and the development of clean technology, there’s been a hell of a lot to be optimistic about in 2016.
We present to you our selection of the 16 most exceptional renewable moments this year - let us know yours in the comments below!
1. The Paris Agreement became the fastest (and largest) United Nations treaty to go from agreement to international law in modern history and showed us the world was ready to get serious about Climate change. But there’s still a lot to do, as Hayden Wood, Bulb’s co-founder, outlined in this video.
2. In April, 25% of Europe’s countries announced that they had quit coal.
3. Bulb officially launched in May, and we were joined by hundreds of our members for a pretty fun party on a roof.
4. This year, ministers gave the go-ahead for the world’s largest offshore wind farm. It’ll be located off the Yorkshire coast in an area nearly a third of the size of Greater London.
5. Research by the Carbon Brief website (cited in the Independent) found that solar generated nearly 7,000GwH of electricity between April and September, about 10 percent more than the 6,300GwH produced by coal during the same period.
6. We dropped our prices five times and increased them once in 2016. We continue to focus on following the wholesale cost of energy closely, reducing prices quickly and increasing them as slowly as possible.
7. A massive breakthrough for renewable energy in the mighty Shetlands! The world’s first energy from tidal power was sent onto the commercial grid. We always knew it to be true: the Shetlands rock.
8. A big story throughout the year has been the increasing investment in renewables in developing and middle-income countries. One of the best examples is India unveiling the world's largest solar power plant with a capacity of 648mw and covering an area of 10 square km.
9. One of our members suggested we pay the exit fees some people get charged when they switch to Bulb. We thought it was a great idea and became the first (and only) energy supplier to pay the exit fees of other suppliers. Yesssss.
10. 2016 was the year that China clearly saw that renewables are the future. The Chinese government placed a ban on new coal mines and doubled its renewables targets for 2020.
11. We think the cost of energy for people on pre-pay meters is a scandal. So we were pleased that the Competition and Markets Authority report into the energy industry put a cap on prepayment meters.
12. Not happy with transforming the electric car industry, Elon Musk released domestic battery storage and solar products that changed the game yet again.
13. A big milestone was reached earlier this month as the relentless reduction in the price of solar continued at pace. In December, solar became cheaper than wind to produce, and therefore the cheapest way of producing energy on the block. Go on my sun!
14. Speaking of solar, the island of Ta’u in American Samoa is more than 4,000 miles from the United States’ West Coast. Thanks to the solar energy company SolarCity, it now hosts a solar power and battery storage-enabled microgrid that can supply nearly 100 percent of the island’s power needs from renewable energy.
15. ‘Breakthrough Energy Ventures’ became one of the best-backed investment funds ever with Bill Gates, Jeff Bezos and Bill Gates all investing in a 1bn, long term, green energy fund to invest in clean energy projects.
16. Remember, exceptional renewable projects start at home. LEDs have cut New York holiday light energy consumption by a third.