Investments in renewable energy hit new record in 2015

With 286 billion dollars, 2015 was the year of renewable energy. A sign that even though the price of fossil fuels dropped, the transition has begun.

2015 was a sunny year for renewables globally. The latest data of the annual report “Global trends in renewable energy investment 2016”, compiled by the UNEP, the United Nations Environment Programme, confirm it. The document highlights that for the first time renewables have topped the capacity added by all other energy sources. 134 GW were added by renewables (excluding large hydropower plants), 42 GW by coal and 15 GW by nuclear energy.


investments renewables
Investments in solar and wind energy are increasing year after year © Andreas Rentz / Getty



But there’s more. Last year’s investments in renewable energy hit another record: 286 billion dollars, compared to 278 billion dollars of 2011, another record year (in 2004 just 47 billion dollars were invested). This is an unequivocal proof of the fact that investments are attracted by the production of low-emission and low-impact energy.


“Renewables are becoming ever more central to our low-carbon lifestyles”, UNEP Executive Director Achim Steiner said in an official declaration. “The record-setting investments in 2015 are further proof of this trend. Importantly, for the first time in 2015, renewables in investments were higher in developing than developed countries”.


The increasing success of renewable energy

The Agency also confirmed what has been recently declared: the increasing energy demand of the emrging countries is attracting new investments in renewable energy such as wind and solar energy.


Access to clean, modern energy is of enormous value for all societies, but especially so in regions where reliable energy can offer profound improvements in quality of life” Steiner specified. “Continued and increased investment in renewables is not only good for people and the planet, but will be a key element in achieving international targets on climate change and sustainable development”.


But there’s still a long way to go. The low price of oil and coal are placing obstacles in the way and renewables still represent a small minority of the world’s total installed power capacity (about 16.2%, excluding hydroelectric projects), even though investments in them increase year after year.

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