Comparing 2015 to 2011, a new study has revealed that global investment in renewable energy hit a record US$285.9bn beating the previous high of the latter year. The 10th Global Trends in Renewable Energy Investment also showed that investment in developing nations exceeded that in developed countries.
In another first, more new renewables capacity than fossil-fuel generation came online during 2015.
But it warned that much more had to be done to avoid dangerous climate change.
The assessment, produced by the Frankfurt School-Unep Collaborating Centre for Climate and Sustainable Energy Finance and Bloomberg New Energy Finance, showed that the developing world committed a total of US$156bn (up 19% on 2014 levels) in renewables (excluding large hydro) while developed nations invested US$130bn (down 8% from 2014 levels).
A large element in this turnaround was China, which lifted its investment by 17% to US$102.9bn, or 36% of the world total,” the report observed.
However, other developing nations also contributed as six of the top 10 investors were developing nations.
In the foreword, UN secretary-general Ban Ki-moon said the report’s findings increased confidence that a low-carbon world was obtainable.
He wrote: “We have entered a new era of clean energy growth that can fuel a future of opportunity and greater prosperity for every person on the planet.”
However, he warned that in order to avoid dangerous climate change required an “immediate shift away from fossil fuels”.
UN Environment Programme Finance Initiative’s Eric Usher, one of the assessment’s co-authors, said the findings were, overall, positive and seemed to indicate that a shift was occurring.
However, he did add that there were areas that caused concern when the focus shifted to regional or national levels.
“There is a still a lot of uncertainty, especially within Europe, with a degree of policy backtracking or the phasing down of support for the (renewables) industry,” he told BBC News.
Fellow co-author Ulf Moslener, head of research at the Frankfurt School-Unep Centre, said the latest figures indicated that shifts in attitude, as well as structure, were occurring.
“This level of investment means… more than half of the capacity added to the global energy mix is renewables-based,” he said.
Prof Moslener added that renewable generation was still dwarfed by fossil fuel-based sources, and only accounted for 10% of the global mix.
“That shows us that we are quite far from having a system that is based on renewables,” he told BBC News.
Source: BBC News