The world is now adding more green energy capacity each year than it adds in new capacity from all fossil fuels combined, according to a United Nations-backed report, showing that the “renewables train has already left the station” and those who ignore this will be left behind.

Last year, renewable power installments increased by nine per cent over 2015 to nearly 2,017 gigawatts. Solar photovoltaic accounted for around 47 per cent of the total additions, followed by wind power at 34 per cent and hydropower at 15.5 per cent, according to the report released on 7 June. “We all want a healthy environment and healthy people, and clean energy is central to the solution,” said Erik Solheim, head of the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), responding to the REN21 report launch.

As the shift to clean power continues, renewables are becoming the least costly option as recent examples in Denmark, Egypt, India, Mexico, Peru and the United Arab Emirates show that energy has been delivered well below the equivalent costs for fossil fuel and nuclear energy in each of these countries.

“The world is adding more renewable power capacity each year than it adds in new capacity from all fossil fuels combined,” said Arthouros Zervos, Chair of the Renewable Energy Policy Network for the 21st Century (REN21).

The UNEP-hosted multi-stakeholder network reported that for the fifth consecutive year, investment in new renewables (including all hydropower) was roughly double the investment in fossil fuel generating capacity, reaching about $250 billion dollars.

“As the share of renewables grows we will need investment in infrastructure as well as a comprehensive set of tools,” Mr. Zervos pointed out. To enable further growth he calls for integrated and interconnected transmission and distribution networks, measures to balance supply and demand, sector coupling (for example the integration of power and transport networks) as well as the deployment of a wide range of enabling technologies.

Source: UN News Centre

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