Clean power soaring even in spite of bargain prices for fossil fuels

The clean-energy construction boom gains momentum in spite of a global glut of cheap fossil fuels. Orders for 2016 solar and wind installations are up sharply, from the US to China to the developing economies, all in defiance of stubbornly low prices for coal and natural gas, the industry’s chief competitors.
“We’re seeing very good momentum across the board globally,” Anders Runevad, chief executive of Vestas Wind Systems, the world’s biggest producer of wind turbines, said in an interview. “We’re seeing growth in every region.”
Vestas, based in Denmark, is one of three major turbine makers whose stock price doubled in 2015 amid a surge of new orders from North America, Europe, Africa and Asia. Among the leading customers were U.S. utility companies, many of them in conservative Southern states such as Texas, the biggest U.S. producer of wind-
generated electricity. In December, wind energy in the United States passed the 70-gigawatt threshold, with 50,000 spinning turbines producing enough power to light up 19 million homes.
Energy analysts say the boom is being spurred in part by improved technology, which has made wind and solar more competitive with fossil fuels in many regions. But equally important, experts say, is better access to financing, as major Wall Street investment houses adopt a more bullish posture toward an industry that was once considered financially risky. In November, Goldman Sachs announced it was quadrupling its investments in renewables to $150 billion.