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The world adds record new renewable energy capacity

Matthew Bowles our consultant managing the role
Published on 11 April 2017

A report from UN Environment has found that record levels of new renewable energy capacity were added globally in 2016 at a lower cost.

The Global Trends in Renewable Energy Investment 2017 report found that renewable energy sources added 138.5 gigawatts to the world’s power capacity in 2016, an 8% increase on 2015.

At $241.6 billion, the total investment was the lowest since 2013, in large due to lower costs, with the average dollar capital expenditure per megawatt for wind and solar photovoltaics dropping by over 10%.

Commenting on the reduced costs, Erik Solheim, Executive Director of UN Environment commented: "Ever-cheaper clean tech provides a real opportunity for investors to get more for less. This is exactly the kind of situation, where the needs of profit and people meet, that will drive the shift to a better world for all." 

Europe led in increasing investment in renewable energy, with a 3% increase to $59.8 billion. This was led by the UK and Germany, with offshore wind making up $25.9 billion of Europe’s investment, an increase of 53%.

At the same time, investment in renewable energy in developing countries fell by 30% and slowed in developed economies such as China and Japan , although China invested $4.1 billion in offshore wind in 2016, its highest figure to date.

The full report can be downloaded by following this link.