Last year saw record worldwide investment and implementation of clean energy such as wind, solar and hydropower.
An upsurge in new wind, solar and hydro plants and capacity saw renewable energy smash global records last year, according to a report on new supply.
Some 147 Gigawatts of renewable electricity came online in 2015 – the largest annual increase ever and as much as Africa’s entire power generating capacity.
Clean energy investment increased to $286bn (£198bn), with solar energy accounting for 56% of the total and wind power for 38%.
Overall, more than twice as much money was spent on renewables than on coal and gas-fired power generation ($130bn in 2015), the REN21 global status report found.
Christine Lins, REN21’s chief, said: “What is truly remarkable about these results is that they were achieved at a time when fossil fuel prices were at historic lows, and renewables remained at a significant disadvantage in terms of government subsidies. For every dollar spent boosting renewables, nearly four dollars were spent to maintain our dependence on fossil fuels.”
For the first time, emerging economies outspent richer nations in the green energy race, with China accounting for a third of the global total. Jamaica, Honduras, Uruguay and Mauritania were among the highest investors, relative to their GDP.
African and Latin American countries also set some of the world’s most ambitious targets for clean energy deployment last year, the report says.
But the renewables revolution stuttered in many developed countries, with the significant exception of the US. In Europe, investment plummeted by 21% after the withdrawal of policy supports, such as clean energy subsidies and binding targets.
Despite this, renewables still provide 44% of the EU’s electricity capacity, and 15% of its final energy consumption.
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