Renewable energy share grows despite fall in investment

The share of electricity generated globally from renewable sources grew last year despite a dip in investment, a new report revealed. Renewables excluding large hydro accounted for 43.6% of newly […]

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By Priyanka Shrestha

The share of electricity generated globally from renewable sources grew last year despite a dip in investment, a new report revealed.

Renewables excluding large hydro accounted for 43.6% of newly installed generating capacity in 2013 worldwide, cutting 1.5 gigatonnes of carbon emissions.

Investment however dropped to $214.4 billion (£128bn) in 2013, mainly due to policy uncertainty in many countries and partly due to the falling cost of solar systems, according to the report produced by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF) and the Frankfurt School.

Source: UNEP, BNEF
Source: UNEP, BNEF

It found solar generated the highest share of renewable electricity, rising 26% from 31GW in 2012 to a record 39GW last year.

Achim Steiner, UN Under-Secretary-General and Executive Director of UNEP said: “A long-term shift in investment over the next few decades towards a cleaner energy portfolio is needed to avoid dangerous climate change, with the energy sector accounting for around two thirds of total greenhouse gas emissions.

“The fact that renewable energy is gaining a bigger share of overall generation globally is encouraging. To support this further, we must re-evaluate investment priorities, shift incentives, build capacity and improve governance structures.”

The report shows China invested more in renewable energy than Europe for the first time last year. While China’s total investment was down by 6% at $56 billion (£33.4bn), Europe’s dropped 44% to $48 billion (£28.7bn). The US also saw a 10% fall to $36 billion (£21.5bn), India moved 15% down to $6 billion (£3.6bn) and Brazil saw a 54% drop to $3 billion (£1.8bn) – the lowest since 2005.

Japan’s solar boom however helped drive an 80% increase in renewable energy investment to $29 billion (£17.3bn) last year.