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Renewable Generation Increased By 152 GW In 2015, According To IRENA

New data released by the International Renewable Energy Agency has shown global renewable energy generation capacity increased by 152 GW in 2015, up 8.3%.

According to Renewable Capacity Statistics 2016, released this week by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), global renewable energy capacity had reached 1,985 GW. Leading the way was hydro, which according to IRENA’s definitions, includes large-hydro, or hydro plants greater than 10 MW in size, which are often removed from renewable energy figures.


“Renewable energy deployment continues to surge in markets around the globe, even in an era of low oil and gas prices,” said IRENA Director-General Adnan Z. Amin. “Falling costs for renewable energy technologies, and a host of economic, social and environmental drivers are favoring renewables over conventional power sources. This impressive growth, coupled with a record $286 billion invested in renewables in 2015, sends a strong signal to investors and policymakers that renewable energy is now the preferred option for new power generation capacity around the world.”

IRENA found that 2015 was a record year for both wind and solar, thanks to a continuing decrease in technology costs. Wind power grew by 17% in 2015, installing 63 GW, while solar capacity increased 37%, with 47 GW installed during the year. Hydropower capacity increased by only 3%, but with an impressive 3%, representative of hydro’s total installed capacity of 1,209 GW.

The developing world is leading the way in terms of fastest growth in 2015. Central America and the Caribbean saw their renewable energy generation capacity expand at 14.5% during 2015, while in Asia, where new additions in 2015 accounted for 58% of new global capacity in 2015, expanded at a rate of 12.4%. Meanwhile, capacity increased by only 6.3% in North America and 5.2% in Europe.

This is in line with the UN Environment Programme’s Global Trends in Renewable Energy Investment 2016 report, published late March, which revealed investments in the developing world outstripped those in the developed world for the first time, with a total of $156 billion invested into renewable energy in 2015.

“The significant growth rates for renewable generation capacity in developing economies are a testament to the strong business case for renewable energy,” added Mr. Amin. “Renewables are not just a solution for industrialized countries, they are also powering economic growth in the fastest growing economies in the developing world.”

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