|1 June 2016|

Last year was a record year for the global renewable energy industry, according to a new report.

Today the Renewable Energy Policy Network for the 21st Century (REN21) the Renewable Energy Policy Network for the 21st Century published its annual overview of the state of renewable energy. The Renewables 2016 Global Status Report reveals that renewables are now firmly established as competitive, mainstream sources of energy in many countries around the world.

Renewable power generating capacity saw its largest increase in 2015, with an estimated 147 gigawatts (GW) added. Modern renewable heat capacity also continued to rise, and renewables use expanded in the transport sector.

Government leadership was identified as a key element in driving the growth of renewables, particularly wind and solar, in the power sector. As of early 2016, 173 countries had renewable energy targets in place and 146 countries had support policies. Cities, communities and companies are leading the rapidly expanding 100% renewable movement, playing a vital role in advancing the global energy transition.

Christine Lins, Executive Secretary of REN21, 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.”

2015 was a record year not only for new installations, but also for investment – reaching USD 286 billion worldwide in renewable power and fuels; if investment in large hydropower (>50 MW) and in heating and cooling is taken into account, the total is far higher. With China accounting for more than one third of the global total, developing countries surpassed developed countries in total renewable energy investments for the first time.