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World Sees Record Renewable Energy Growth Despite Fall in Investment

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Renewable energy provided a record 55 percent of power generating capacity worldwide in 2016, according to a new UN Environment Programme (UNEP) and Bloomberg New Energy Finance report.


The new capacity comes with a smaller price tag for investors due to the plummeting costs for renewables: average PV solar generation costs dropped 17 percent, while onshore wind dropped 18 percent and offshore wind dropped 28 percent.

Overall, global investment in clean energy fell 23 percent from 2015 levels, even as the world installed a record 139 GW of renewable energy. The report estimates that the collective renewable installation prevented the emission of 1.7 gigatonnes of CO2.

"It's a whole new world: even though investment is down, annual installations are still up; instead of having to subsidize renewables, now authorities may have to subsidize natural gas plants to help them provide grid reliability," Michael Liebreich, chairman of the advisory board at UNEP, said in the report.

For a deeper dive:

News: Reuters, Politico Pro, AP, Bloomberg, Mashable, Christian Science Monitor, InsideClimate News

Commentary: ThinkProgress, Joe Romm column

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