UNITED NATIONS: Coal and gas-fired electricity generation drew less than half the record investment made in solar, wind and other renewables capacity last year, one of several important firsts for green energy recently announced in a United Nations-backed report.
“Renewables are becoming ever more central to our low-carbon lifestyles, and the record-setting investments in 2015 are further proof of this trend,” UNEP Executive Director Achim Steiner said in a statement. “Importantly, for the first time in 2015, renewables in investments were higher in developing countries than developed.”
Global Trends in Renewable Energy Investment 2016, the 10th edition of the annual publication issued by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), says the annual global investment in new renewables capacity, at $266 billion, was more than double the estimated $130 billion invested in coal and gas power stations in 2015.
The report, launched Saturday by the Frankfurt School-UNEP Collaborating Centre for Climate & Sustainable Energy Finance and Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF), highlights that all investments in renewables, including early-stage technology and research and development as well as spending on new capacity, totalled $286 billion in 2015, some 3% higher than the previous record in 2011. Since 2004, the world has invested $2.3 trillion in renewable energy (unadjusted for inflation).
Just as significantly, developing world investments in renewables topped those of developed nations for the first time in 2015, the report indicates.
Helped by further falls in generating costs per megawatt-hour, particularly in solar photovoltaics, renewables excluding large hydromade up 54 per cent of added gigawatt capacity of all technologies last year. It marks the first time new installed renewables have topped the capacity added from all conventional technologies.
“Access to clean, modern energy is of enormous value for all societies, but especially so in regions where reliable energy can offer profound improvements in quality of life, economic development and environmental sustainability. Continued and increased investment in renewables is not only good for people and planet, but will be a key element in achieving international targets on climate change and sustainable development,” said Steiner.
Published in The Express Tribune, March 27th, 2016.
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