Green growth hits record heights as costs fall 23%

Global renewable capacity grew by record levels in 2016, at a 23% lower cost than the previous year. That’s according to new research published by UN Environment, the Frankfurt School-UNEP Collaborating Centre […]

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By Jonny Bairstow

Global renewable capacity grew by record levels in 2016, at a 23% lower cost than the previous year.

That’s according to new research published by UN Environment, the Frankfurt School-UNEP Collaborating Centre and Bloomberg New Energy Finance.

The report shows 138.5GW of new wind, solar, biomass, geothermal, small hydro and marine power was installed, an 8% increase from the 127.5GW of new capacity built the year before.

The total investment was $241.6 billion (£194.90bn), the lowest annual figure since 2013.

The research shows this was primarily a result of falling costs – the average cost per megawatt for solar photovoltaics and wind dropped by more than 10%.

Investment in new renewable capacity was roughly double the spending on fossil fuel generation, making up around 55% of all new power, the highest proportion ever recorded.

The share of electricity coming from renewables rose from 10.3% to 11.3%, cutting 1.7 billion tonnes of Carbon Dioxide.

Erik Solheim, Executive Director of UN Environment, said: “Ever cheaper cleantech provides a real opportunity for investors to get more for less.

“This is exactly the kind of situation, where the needs of profit and people meet, that will drive the shift to a better world for all.”

Renewable sources of generation are playing an increasingly large role in the EU’s energy mix.