Coal and gas-fired generation attracted less than half as much capacity investment as renewables last year: all investments in renewables totalled $286 billion in 2015, some 3 per cent higher than the previous record in 2011. Since 2004, the world has invested $2.3 trillion in renewable energy.
The data is highlighted in Global Trends in Renewable Energy Investment 2016, the new UN Environment Programme’s (UNEP’s) annual report, which 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.
Renewables added more to global energy generation capacity than all other technologies combined and for first time, and for the first time developing world investments in renewables (up 19% in 2015) topped developed nations’ (down 8%).
Much of these record-breaking developing world investments took place in China (up 17 per cent to $102.9 billion, or 36 per cent of the world total). Other developing countries showing increased investment included India (up 22 per cent to $10.2 billion), South Africa (up 329 per cent to $4.5 billion), Mexico (up 105 per cent to $4 billion) and Chile (up 151 per cent to $3.4 billion). Overall developing country investments last year were 17-times higher than in 2004.
Conversely, investment in Europe was down 21 per cent, from $62 billion in 2014 to $48.8 billion in 2015, the continent’s lowest figure for nine years despite record investments in offshore wind projects.
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, that is 134 gigawatts (GW) of renewable power added worldwide in 2015.
Were it not for renewables excluding large hydro, annual global CO2 emissions would have been an estimated 1.5 gigatonnes higher in 2015.