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Renewable energy capacity increase

According to research by renewable’s policy organisation REN21, a record amount of renewable power capacity was installed throughout the world in 2017 as the cost of wind and solar became even more competitive with fossil fuels. This further increases the capacity for 2018.

REN21 is the global renewable energy policy multi-stakeholder network that connects a wide range of key actors. An estimated record of 178 gigawatts (GW) of capacity of renewable power was added in 2017, says REN21’s annual renewables global status report. New solar photovoltaic capacity reached a record 98 GW in 2017, up 29% from the previous year, while new wind capacity was at 52 GW, 4% lower than in 2016. Total global renewable power capacity, including hydropower, rose to 2,195 GW in 2017 from 2,017 GW in the previous year. More renewable energy was collected than fossil fuel generation. This reveals a commitment to increasing renewable energy output and sustainable energy. In 2017, renewables accounted for 70% of net additions to global generating capacity, the report said. Furthermore, renewable energy has seen increased investment. Investment in renewable energy was at $279 billion, up from $274 billion in 2016 and more than twice that of new fossil fuel and nuclear power capacity.

Despite this rise in renewable energy, however, it is still not meeting the global demand for energy, making fossil fuel a necessary high investment. Global energy demand was 2.1 percent higher and CO2 emissions were 1.4 percent higher due to economic growth in emerging economies and population rises. “Renewable energy uptake is not keeping pace with this increasing energy demand and the continuous investment in fossil and nuclear capacity,” REN21 said in a statement.

According to Randa Adib, executive secretary of REN21, “We may be racing down the pathway towards a 100 percent renewable electricity future but when it comes to heating, cooling and transport,” which together account for about four-fifths of global final energy demand, “we are coasting along as if we had all the time in the world. Sadly, we don’t.”

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