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Global renewable energy adds 167GW in new capacity last year, says IRENA

CTBR Staff Writer Published 06 April 2018

Global renewable energy production increased by 167GW to reach 2179GW by the end of 2017, according to a report released by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA).

The report titled The Renewable Capacity Statistics 2018 states that the addition represents an annual growth of 8.3%, which has been the average for seven years in a row.

As per the report, solar photovoltaics (PV) grew by 32% last year, followed by wind energy, which grew by 10%. This growth has been attributed to substantial cost reductions.

The levelised cost of electricity generated from solar PV decreased by 73% and onshore wind by about 25% between 2010 and 2017, the report said.

China continued to be the top contributor to global capacity additions, accounting for nearly half of all the new capacity last year. India added about 10% of all the new capacity, mostly in solar and wind.

Asia accounted for 64% of new capacity additions last year, which increased from 58% in 2016. Europe added 24GW of new capacity last year, followed by North America which added 16GW. Brazil added 1GW in solar power, which is a ten-fold increase compared to 2016, says IRENA.

IRENA director general Adnan Z. Amin said: “This latest data confirms that the global energy transition continues to move forward at a fast pace, thanks to rapidly falling prices, technology improvements and an increasingly favourable policy environment.

“Renewable energy is now the solution for countries looking to support economic growth and job creation, just as it is for those seeking to limit carbon emissions, expand energy access, reduce air pollution and improve energy security.”

Among the sectors, hydropower capacity addition last year was the lowest in the past decade. Brazil and China accounted for most expansion in this sector with 12.4GW or 60% of all the new capacity. 

In wind energy, three quarters of new capacity was installed in five countries that include China with 15GW, USA with 6GW, Germany with 6GW, UK with 4GW and India with 4GW. Brazil and France also added more than 1GW of renewable energy last year.

In solar energy sector, Asia continued to dominate with a capacity expansion of about 72GW. China with 53GW, India with 9.6GW and Japan with 7GW were the major contributors for the growth.

Image: 167GW of Renewable energy installed last year around the world. Photo: Courtesy of Ben Schonewille/FreeDigitalPhotos.net.