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article image'Energy transformation' taking place around the globe

By Karen Graham     Mar 30, 2017 in Technology
Abu Dhabi - On Thursday, the International Renewable Energy Association (IRENA) published data confirming that 2016 was the strongest year ever for new renewable energy installations worldwide.
IRENA's Renewable Energy Capacity Statistics 2017 report confirmed global renewable energy generation capacity increased by 161 gigawatts (GW) in 2016, hitting an estimated 2,006 GW, with solar energy showing particularly strong growth.
“We are witnessing an energy transformation taking hold around the world, and this is reflected in another year of record-breaking additions in new renewable energy capacity," RENA Director-General Adnan Z. Amin said in a statement.
The data showed that renewable energy capacity grew by 8.7 percent, with 71 GW of new solar energy leading the way. Wind energy grew by 51 GW, hydropower increased by 30 GW and bioenergy by 9 GW.
Between 2009 and 2015 the cost of solar power fell by 80 percent  making it competitive against gas ...
Between 2009 and 2015 the cost of solar power fell by 80 percent, making it competitive against gas and coal in some countries
Jack Guez, AFP/File
Asia accounted for 58 percent of new renewable installations, bringing its total to 812 GW or about 41 percent of the global capacity. Asia was also the fastest growing region in new installations. Africa's new installed capacity increased to 4.1 GW in 2016, twice as much as in 2015.
Something new was added to this year's addition of the Renewable Energy Capacity Statistics. The report now contains statistics for off-grid renewables. IRENA 's report shows that off-grid renewable electricity capacity reached 2,800 megawatts (MW) at the end of 2016. There are about 60 million households or 300 million people who rely on off-grid electricity in the world today.
Statistics on off-grid electricity shows that close to 40 percent was supplied by solar power with 10 percent coming from hydropower. The remainder of off-grid electricity was produced by bioenergy, Asia had the majority of bioenergy expansion with an increase of 5,9GW, fast approaching Europe.
New wind energy capacity saw three-quarters of all new wind farms limited to just four countries: China (+19 GW); USA (+9 GW); Germany (+5 GW); and India (+4 GW). Brazil continued to show strong growth, with an increase of 2 GW in 2016.
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IRENA
The global increase in renewable energy installations is being driven by declining renewable energy technology costs and enabling policy frameworks. The biggest plus for renewables is the increase in the job market, making this technology a lucrative field that will only see further growth.
More about IRENA, Renewables, global increase, offgrid capacity, Solar power
 
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