Record amount of renewable power installed in 2016 – research
A record amount of renewable power capacity was installed worldwide last year as falling costs for wind and solar made them more competitive with fossil fuels, research by renewables policy organisation REN21 showed on Tuesday. Renewable power generation capacity had its largest annual increase in 2016, with an estimated 161 gigawatts (GW) of capacity added, Paris-based REN21’s annual renewables global status report showed. Total global renewable power capacity, including hydropower, rose to 2,017 gigawatts (GW) in 2016, up almost 9 percent from the previous year.
The world added more renewable capacity than new fossil fuel generation. In 2016, renewables accounted for almost 62 percent of net additions to global generating capacity, the report said.
“Renewables are becoming the least cost option,” it said.
“Recent deals in Denmark, Egypt, India, Mexico, Peru and the United Arab Emirates saw renewable electricity being delivered at $0.05 per kilowatt-hour or less. This is well below equivalent costs for fossil fuel and nuclear generating capacity in each of these countries,” it added. New investment in renewable power and fuels amounted to $241.6 billion last year, down 23 percent from the $312.2 billion invested in 2015. The decline was due to a slowdown in investments in China, Japan and other emerging economies and also because the cost of solar photovoltaic and wind power fell significantly, improving the cost-competitiveness of those technologies, the report said.
“The result was that in 2016 investors were able to acquire more renewable energy capacity for less money,” it added. However, fossil fuel subsidies continue to stunt growth in renewable energy. By the end of last year, more than 50 countries committed to phasing out fossil fuel subsidies. The report said that, despite some reforms to fossil fuel subsidies, governments were spending $4 on fossil fuels for every $1 on renewables.
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