Analysis of global primary energy trends, from the BP Statistical Review of World Energy, shows that - in just the last few years - there have been some surprising shifts. Specifically: renewables made the single largest contribution to meeting growth in global primary energy consumption in the three years from end 2011 to end 2014. 

This is illustrated in the following chart with an explanation below it;


Source: BP Statistical Review of World Energy (2015)


Historically the world has obtained its energy from five main sources: oil, coal, natural gas, nuclear power and hydro-electricity. Non-hydro electricity (i.e. wind, solar, geothermal, biomass & biofuels) was historically such a small part of the total that it was not even reported in the Statistical Review prior to 2010. However the rapid growth of wind and solar since that time has changed all that.

In fact analysis of changes to global primary energy from the end of 2011 to the end of 2014 indicates that, of the total increase of 489.6 million tonnes of oil equivalent (MTOE), the single largest contributor was renewables which provided 204.7 MTOE or 41.8 percent of the total. This amount is larger than the combined contribution of natural gas, coal AND nuclear.

This is indicative of a rapid acceleration in the rate of installation of new renewables. What is particularly exciting about this trend is that growth of wind and solar will only accelerate as their costs continue to fall