A new study has found that emerging countries spent more on renewables than coal and gas last year. The Renewables Global Status Report found that investments in renewables such as solar, wind and hydropower was double the amount spent on new coal and gas-fired power plants. Over 8 million people across the world are working in the renewable energy sector, a figure has been steadily growing for years.
REN21 an international body made up of energy experts, government representatives and NGOs, published a report that states approximately 147 gigawatts (GW) of green energy capacity was added in 2015 and investment in renewables reached $286 billion worldwide.
Prices of fossil fuels have fallen significantly but the writers of the report say the cost of renewables has too.
Christine Lins, Executive Secretary of REN21, told BBC News: “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.
“[The report] clearly shows that the costs have come down so much that the emerging economies are now really focussing on renewables.”
The UK, China, U.S., Japan, and India contributed the most to the increase in clean energy, with China accounting for more than one-third of the global total.
For the first time ever, developing countries outspent the richer nations on renewables and when measured against a country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP), the biggest investors were in fact small countries like Mauritania, Honduras, Uruguay and Jamaica.
Areas such as transport and heating and cooling are still behind other sectors when it comes to implementing green energy – which is likely due to the current low price of oil – but REN21 are still positive that investment in renewables will rise, stating that many countries had renewable initiatives in place before the Paris Agreement was signed in April.
For more information, visit the REN21 website.