The global renewable energy generation capacity increased by 167 gigawatt (GW) to reach 2,179 GW by the end of 2017, representing an average annual growth of 8.3 percent for seven consecutive years, a report said Thursday.
The Abu Dhabi-based International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) said in an e-mailed statement that solar photovoltaics (PV) grew by 32 percent in 2017, followed by wind energy, which grew by 10 percent.
IRENA said its newly published report entitled “Renewable Capacity Statistics 2018” is the most comprehensive, up-to-date and accessible figures on renewable energy capacity statistics, as it contains nearly 15,000 data points from more than 200 countries and territories.
The increase in renewable energy generation capacity was partly due to the substantial cost reductions, with the cost of electricity from solar PV decreasing by 73 percent, and onshore wind by nearly one-quarter, between 2010 and 2017.
Both technologies are now well within the cost range of power generated by fossil fuels, it said.
China continued to lead global capacity additions, installing nearly half of all new capacity in 2017, said IRENA, an intergovernmental organization that supports countries in their transition to a sustainable energy future with 156 members (155 States and the European Union) and 24 additional countries in the accession process.
Asia accounted for 64 percent of the new capacity additions in 2017, up from 58 percent last year. Europe added 24 GW of new capacity in 2017, followed by North America’s 16 GW.
“This latest data confirms that the global energy transition continues to move forward at a fast pace, thanks to rapidly falling prices, technology improvements and an increasingly favourable policy environment,” said IRENA Director-General Adnan Z. Amin.
“Despite this clear evidence of strength in the power generation sector, a complete energy transformation goes beyond electricity to include the end-use sectors of heating, cooling and transportation, where there is substantial opportunity for growth of renewables,” Amin added.
The amount of new hydro capacity commissioned in 2017 was the lowest seen in the last decade, the IRENA said.
Brazil and China continued to account for most of this expansion (12.4 GW or 60 percent of all new capacity). Asia continued to account for most of the increase in bio-energy capacity, with an increases of 2.1 GW in China, 510 MW in India and 430 MW in Thailand, the IRENA report said.
Geothermal power capacity increased by 644 MW in 2017, with major expansions in Indonesia (306 MW) and Turkey (243 MW), said the report.