Leading players in the global renewables sector today backed climate protests by young people around the world as tens of thousands left school and took to the streets in more than 100 countries.

The FridaysForFuture movement, inspired by 16-year-old Swedish teen climate activist Greta Thunberg, has ballooned from her solo protest into a global phenomenon and unexpected new force in the push for climate policy action.

Demands for a rapid transition to renewable energy featured prominently on the placards and social media posts of the young protesters – and there was no shortage of love flowing the other way.

Global wind turbine number-one Vestas said: “School strikes taking place in 100+ countries today over climate inaction. Great to see the young people so active on climate change.”

Prominent UK climate and energy commentator, and founder of PV group Solarcentury Jeremy Leggett, said: “The schoolchildren on strike from school today in more than 100 countries are staging a global protest essentially about the failure of my generation to deal with climate change.

“They should of course be daunted by that collective failure. But they can also be uplifted by the opportunities they and the millennial generation have to do far better than us.”

Stefan Gsänger, a director of the Global100RE platform claimed the demonstrators “know that a renewable energy future is possible, but that it is delayed by the old energy sector which is more interested in their profit of today than in the future of our children”.

The action had already received the support of the German wind association, which said the students were helping to “end the standstill” over renewables expansion.

Environmental NGO Friends of the Earth said the climate strikers want Europe “to halt the development of new fossil fuel infrastructures, transform our energy system away from fossil fuels in a just way, ensure a right to energy for all, and create a future built on 100% renewable energy within the next decade”.