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Cost of renewables fell in 2016, lowering global investment in clean energy

07 April 2017

This meant that 2016 was the strongest ever year for new additions to capacity. The records set past year were $29.10 per megawatt hour for solar in Chile and $30 per megawatt hour for onshore wind in Morocco.

A decade from now, renewable energy sources could be cheaper than fossil fuels, the United Nations global futures report has found.

The United Nations Environment Program said Thursday that overall investments reached $241.6 billion past year, down from $312.2 billion in 2015. However, don't let that fool you into thinking the world has turned its back on solving climate change (that's just the Trump administration).

"After the dramatic cost reductions of the past few years, unsubsidised wind and solar can provide the lowest cost new electrical power in an increasing number of countries, even in the developing world - sometimes by a factor of two", says Liebreich. "One was lower costs, with average dollar capital expenditure per MW down by more than 10% for solar photovoltaics, onshore wind and offshore wind, improving the competitiveness of those technologies", according to the report.

New data from UN Environment, the Frankfurt School-UNEP Collaborating Centre, and Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF) indicates that renewable energy capacity grew by 138.5 GW in 2016, up 8% over 2015 additions.

Great debates towards 100% renewable energy, cites industry experts who have underscored that even large global corporations are increasingly choosing renewable energy products either from utilities or through direct investment in their own generating capacity.

The Trump administration is vowing to scrap many federal programs that encourage renewables in favor of an uncertain effort to revive coal mining and further boost oil and gas drilling.

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Still, states and city governments in the USA have made clear that they are plowing ahead with plans to expand the use of renewables.

The proposed methodology for calculations based on global or any regional and country databases, can be used in all areas of the world to support the advancement of renewable energy, thereby helping to contribute to the implementation of the 2015 Paris Agreement.

The proportion of electricity coming from renewables excluding large hydro rose from 10.3 to 11.3%.

The Noor 3 solar power plant - one of the world's biggest - near Ouarzazate, southern Morocco. India had also promised to have about 40% of its power from renewable sources by 2030. More than 55% of this capacity comes from wind power projects.

Investment in fossil fuel-based energy was approximately half that amount in 2016, according to a report jointly published by UN Environment and Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF).

However, it has been suggested that additional investment would be required in order to get a more significant improvements and maintain the upwards momentum of the renewables sector.