Renewables make up a quarter of world energy

Nearly a quarter of the world’s electricity now comes from renewable energy. Wind and solar have witnessed an explosive average annual growth of 23% and 50% respectively in the last […]

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By Jonny Bairstow

Nearly a quarter of the world’s electricity now comes from renewable energy.

Wind and solar have witnessed an explosive average annual growth of 23% and 50% respectively in the last 10 years, although their combined contribution to the global electricity supply is currently only 4%, according to a new report by the World Energy Council (WEC).

Hydropower accounts for 17%, biomass 1.8% and geothermal 0.4%, with tidal energy making up the rest.

In 2015, a record $286 billion (£219.32bn) was invested in 154GW of new renewable capacity, with more than three quarters of this going into wind and solar.

This is a far greater figure than investment in conventional generation, to which 97GW was added over the period.

Improving technologies and cost reductions are driving down the price of renewable energy, states WEC.

The lowest price for wind is roughly $28/MWh (£21.47/MWh) in Morocco, with the cheapest solar coming from Dubai at $30/MWh (£23.01/MWh). Although this is particularly cheap, there is a clear downward trend in price, it adds.

Secretary General Christoph Frei said: “We are beyond the tipping point of grand energy transition. Implementing technically and economically sound, stable policies supported by clear carbon price signals will enable this transition and take us a step closer to meeting the climate aspirations agreed at COP21.”

The WEC previously reported energy systems must be smarter, not just stronger, if they’re to be future proof.