The Renewables Global Status Report found that renewable energy sources such as wind, solar and hydro power had received investment double that of coal and gas-fired power plants during 2015.Worldwide, the renewable energy sector employs over 8 million people.The global spend on renewable energy has been steadily increasing over recent years and peaked in 2015 with investment of $286bn worldwide according to the report.
The United States, China, India, Japan and the UK were the biggest players in the renewable market, despite oil prices falling significantly. The authors of the report say that the cost of renewables has also fallen.Executive secretary of REN21, Christine Lins, said "The fact that we had 147GW of capacity, mainly of wind and solar is a clear indication that these technologies are cost competitive (with fossil fuels),""They are the preference for many countries and more and more utilities and investors and that is a very positive signal."In 2015 China accounted for more than a third of the global renewable energy total and some of the developing countries such as Mauritania, Honduras, Uruguay and Jamaica outspent the richer nations for the first time."It clearly shows that the costs have come down so much that the emerging economies are now really focussing on renewables," added Christine Lins."They are the ones with the biggest increases in energy demand, and the fact that we had this turning point really shows the business case - and that is really a remarkable development."The UK Government have introduced substantial cuts to green subsidies over recent years. Therefore the high position of the UK in the global renewables table has surprised many.Despite a significant fall in renewables investment across Europe (a fall of approx. 21%), green power is the leading source of electricity, providing 44% of the European Union’s total capacity in 2015.
Go for Green
There are a lot of areas that can’t quite get on board with green energy just yet. Transport, heating and cooling are all areas that will struggle to make the immediate change, but once equipment is readily accessible and the infrastructure is securely in place, the rewards are obvious. The recent oil price dip has fuelled consumer reluctance in making the change to the renewable sectors.The authors of the report are sure that eventually renewable energy will be king."I've been working in this sector for 20 years and the economic case is now fully there," said Christine Lins."The renewables industry is not just dependant on a couple of markets but it has turned into a truly global one with markets everywhere and that is really encouraging."Christine Lins feels that the best is yet to come.