Global Renewable Energy Capacity Grew At Record Speed In 2015
Renewable power generation capacity grew by 152 GW in 2015, which, at 8.3%, is the highest increase ever recorded, predominately driven by huge capacity increases in Asia. Global solar capacity enjoyed unprecedented growth of 37% due to huge price drops in the technology.
With the energy pendulum beginning to swing in the direction of renewables, the news of a record increase in renewable energy capacity couldn’t have come at a more welcome moment. Data released in the International Renewable Energy Agency’s (IRENA) Renewable Capacity Statistics 2016 shows that capacity grew 8.3% in 2015, which makes it a record-breaking year, and the sixth consecutive year that renewable power capacity has grown at around 8%.
“Renewable energy deployment continues to surge in markets around the globe, even in an era of low oil and gas prices,” said IRENA Director-General Adnan Z. Amin. “Falling costs for renewable energy technologies, and a host of economic, social and environmental drivers are favoring renewables over conventional power sources.”
“The significant growth rates for renewable generation capacity in developing economies are a testament to the strong business case for renewable energy,” said Mr. Amin. “Renewables are not just a solution for industrialized countries, they are also powering economic growth in the fastest growing economies in the developing world.”
A good year for solar
By far the most pronounced protagonists of this growth were in Asia, where China added 15 GW of new solar capacity and Japan added 10 GW of new solar capacity, which was the bulk of the contribution towards a 48% increase in solar capacity in Asia. Solar capacity in Asia is now almost as large as that of Europe, who had previously led the way for the solar industry, but has stalled somewhat recently. There were also encouraging early signs for the development of solar markets in Oceania and Africa, adding almost 2 GW of solar capacity between them.
“This impressive growth, coupled with a record $286 billion invested in renewables in 2015, sends a strong signal to investors and policymakers that renewable energy is now the preferred option for new power generation capacity around the world,” added Amin.
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