Renewable power accounted for 70 percent of net additions to global power generating capacity in 2017, the largest increase in renewable power capacity in modern history, according to a report released on Monday.
New solar photovoltaic (PV) capacity reached record levels, said the Renewables 2018 Global Status released by the Renewable Energy Policy Network for the 21st Century (REN21) at the United Nations.
“Solar PV additions were up 29 percent relative to 2016, to 98 GW. More solar PV generating capacity was added to the electricity system than net capacity additions of coal, natural gas and nuclear power combined. Wind power also drove the uptake of renewables with 52 GW added globally,” said the report.
As for the investment in the renewable power capacity, the report noted that such investment “was more than twice that of net, new fossil fuel and nuclear power capacity combined, despite large, ongoing subsidies for fossil fuel generation.”
“More than two-thirds of investments in power generation were in renewables in 2017, thanks to their increasing cost-competitiveness, and the share of renewables in the power sector is expected to only continue to rise,” the report added.
Investment in renewables was “regionally concentrated,” it said, noting that China, Europe and the United States accounted for nearly 75 percent of global investment in renewables in 2017.
However, when measured per unit of gross domestic product (GDP), the Marshall Islands, Rwanda, the Solomon Islands, Guinea Bissau, and many other developing countries are investing as much as or more in renewables than developed and emerging economies.
The report expressed the concern that both energy demand and energy-related carbon dioxide emissions “rose substantially for the first time in four years.”
“Energy-related carbon dioxide emissions rose by 1.4 percent,” it noted.
“Global energy demand increased an estimated 2.1 percent in 2017 due to economic growth in emerging economies as well as population growth,” the report said.
REN21’s Renewables 2018 Global Status Report presents the developments and trends through the end of 2017, as well as observed trends from early 2018 where available.
First published in 2005, the annual Renewables Global Status Report is the most comprehensive and timely overview of the status, recent developments and trends in renewable energy markets, industries, investments, and policy developments worldwide. XINHUA