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article imageGlobal renewable energy production hit record levels in 2016

By Karen Graham     Jun 8, 2017 in Environment
Paris - In 2016, the world produced enough renewable energy capacity to power every home in the UK, Germany, France, and Italy combined, according to a new report released by the Paris-based Renewable Energy Policy Network for the 21st Century (REN21).
Even as the Trump administration downplays the advances made in renewable energy in favor of fossil fuels in the United States, clean energy has grown by leaps and bounds around the world, according to the annual Renewables Global Status Report, REN21.
Newly installed renewable power capacity set new records in 2016 with 161 gigawatts installed, an investment that was nearly double the investment in fossil fuel generating capacity, reaching, US$249.8 billion. This means that globally, more renewable power capacity was added than was added in net capacity for all fossil fuels combined.
EcoWatch points out that even more impressive is the fact that the almost $250 billion investment in the cost of the newly installed 161 gigawatts was 23 percent cheaper than it would have cost in 2015.
 The number of people working in the renewables sector could reach 24 million by 2030  more than off...
"The number of people working in the renewables sector could reach 24 million by 2030, more than offsetting fossil-fuel job losses and becoming a major economic driver around the world.," says the IRENA report.
EDF Report
Overall, global capacity increased by nearly 9.0 percent from 2015, reaching a cumulative capacity of 2,017 gigawatts last year. Solar photovoltaic capacity accounted for 47 percent, followed by wind power at 34 percent and hydropower at 15.5 percent.
And as the UK's Independent puts it, "The world added enough renewable energy capacity to power every house in the UK, Germany, France, and Italy combined last year."
Alto Lindoso hydro-power dam in Portugal  part of the country s renewable energy mix.
Alto Lindoso hydro-power dam in Portugal, part of the country's renewable energy mix.
Wikimedia Commons
In a statement, according to the Independent, REN21 said: “Renewables are becoming the least cost option. Recent deals in Denmark, Egypt, India, Mexico, Peru and the United Arab Emirates saw renewable electricity being delivered at $0.05 per kilowatt-hour or less. This is well below equivalent costs for fossil fuel and nuclear generating capacity in each of these countries."
While the figures are impressive, there is still the need to transform the world to a zero-carbon economy, and many groups, including REN21, feel it is not happening fast enough.
“Investment continues to be heavily focused on wind and solar PV, however, all renewable energy technologies need to be deployed in order to keep global warming well below 2C,” the Ren21 statement said.
More about Renewable energy, global status, 2016, record levels, lower cost
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