Renewable power installations grew 8.3% in 2015 – IRENA

Solar and wind farms muscled out fossil fuel-fired plants as preferred form of new power generation in 2015, says clean energy body

Shams 100MW concentrated solar plant in Abu Dhabi, UAE (Flickr/ Masdar Official)

Shams 100MW concentrated solar plant in Abu Dhabi, UAE (Flickr/ Masdar Official)

By Alex Pashley

Installations of renewable power plants registered their biggest leap on record last year as costs tumbled, according to the International Renewable Energy Agency.

Wind and solar drove an 8.3% increase in global renewable generation capacity, growing 152 gigawatts to 1,985 GW, data released by the Abu Dhabi-based body showed on Thursday. Investment hit an all-time high of US$286 billion.

In 2014, renewables accounted for almost half of all new power plants, according to leading analysis body the International Energy Agency, which hasn’t produced figures for 2015.

“This impressive growth… sends a strong signal to investors and policymakers that renewable energy is now the preferred option for new power generation capacity around the world,” said IRENA head Adnan Amin.

Developing countries outstripped wealthier ones, with Asia expanding 12% compared with more modest 5-6% growth in Europe and North America, according to the report.

Falling technology costs spurred the trend. Costs of wind turbines have dropped 45% since 2010 and photovoltaic cells fell 80% in the same period, IRENA said.

Hydropower made up the largest share with an installed capacity of 1,209 GW. Wind and solar came next with 432 GW and 227 GW, followed by 104 GW of bioenergy, 13 GW of geothermal and 500MW of marine energy.

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