Global Trends in Renewable Energy Investment 2017, published on April 6th by UN Environment, the Frankfurt School-UNEP Collaborating Centre, and Bloomberg New Energy Finance, finds that all investments in renewables totaled $241.6 billion (excluding large hydro). These investments added 138.5 gigawatts to global power capacity in 2016, up 8 per cent from the 127.5 gigawatts added the year before.

Investment in renewables capacity was roughly double that in fossil fuel generation; the corresponding new capacity from renewables was equivalent to 55 per cent of all new power, the highest to date. The proportion of electricity coming from renewables excluding large hydro rose from 10.3 per cent to 11.3 per cent. This prevented the emission of an estimated 1.7 gigatonnes of carbon dioxide.

In 2016, the advance of renewable energy slowed in one respect, and speeded up in another. Investment in renewables excluding large hydro fell by 23% to $241.6 billion, but the amount of new capacity installed increased from 127.5GW in 2015 to a record 138.5GW in 2016. Together, the new renewable sources of wind, solar, biomass and waste, geothermal, small hydro and marine accounted for 55.3% of all the gigawatts of new power generation added worldwide last year. More solar gigawatts were added (75GW) than of any other technology for the first time. A major reason why installations increased even though dollars invested fell was a sharp reduction in capital costs for solar photovoltaics, onshore and offshore wind. On a less positive note, there were clear signs as 2016 went on of slowing activity in two key markets, China and Japan.

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