According to UNEP's 10th "Global Trends in Renewable Energy Investment 2016", prepared by the Frankfurt School-UNEP Collaborating Centre for Climate & Sustainable Energy Finance and Bloomberg New Energy Finance, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and Bloomberg New Energy Finance all investments in renewables totalled $286 billion in 2015, some 3% higher than the previous record in 2011.
Key points to know:
- Coal and gas-fired electricity generation drew less than half the record investment made in solar, wind and other renewables capacity.
- Just as significantly, developing world investments in renewables (up 19% in 2015) topped those of developed nations for the first time in 2015 (down 8%). Much of these record-breaking developing world investments took place in China (up 17% to $102.9 billion).
- Other developing countries showing increased investment included India, South Africa, Mexico and Chile.
- Overall, renewables excluding large hydro made up 53.6% of the gigawatt capacity of all technologies installed in 2015, the first time it has represented a majority. That shows that the structural change is under way. However, the huge weight of conventional generation capacity already built meant that new, clean technologies only accounted for just over 10% of world electricity last year.
- This year?s focus chapter is on Renewable energy and storage. It discusses the challenge of balancing variable generation sources such as wind and solar, and the potential of storage technologies to address this. The chapter presents eye-catching data on the speed of reduction in lithium-ion battery prices and analysis on the cost and benefit of adding storage to renewable power plants to make them more responsive to the needs of the grid.
The Global Trends in Renewable Energy Investment Report (GTR) is a sister publication to the Renewables Global Status Report (GSR) produced by the Renewable Energy Policy Network for the 21st Century REN21. It provides an overview of renewable energy market, industry, investment and policy developments worldwide.