22 Eyl 2018
This report was jointly prepared by UN Environment's Economy Division, Frankfurt School-UNEP Collaborating Centre for Climate & Sustainable Energy Finance, and Bloomberg New Energy Finance.
Fueling our society with clean energy is the key to a future in harmony with our planet. The transition from fossil fuels to wind, solar and hydro sources has the potential to reduce climate change impacts and to shift our societies to more resilient and sustainable pathways for future generations. The annual Global Trends in Renewable Energy Investment report illustrates the state of transition of this dynamic sector by emphasizing recent global efforts addressing the status quo and the promising future.
The results of the report underline the consistent growth of the renewable energy market. Once again, the world succeeded in increasing the proportion of electricity generated by renewable sources worldwide. A record level of 157 gigawatts of renewable power were commissioned in 2017, up from 143 gigawatts in 2016. Last year, new investment commitments in renewable energy again broke barriers, rising 2 per cent to total $279.8 billion in 2017.
The 2018 report also illustrates other ongoing trends that will have a significant impact on the future of renewable energies. First, the increasing financial commitment is largely due to the sharp increases in renewable energy investment by developing countries. This coincides with declining investments in developed countries, due to renewable energy markets reaching maturity. Secondly, costs for renewable energies continued to fall in 2017, making investment opportunities more accessible. This trend is clearly shown in the auction for offshore wind projects in Mexico, as new bids were 50 per cent below the 2015 auction.
These are just the latest indicators that a global renewable energy revolution is underway. Taking a closer look at China, it is clear that the country is at the center of the global energy transformation driven by technological change and the falling cost of renewables. At the start of 2017, China announced that it would invest $360 billion in renewable energy by 2020 and scrap plans to build 85 coal-fired power plants. China then initiated 13 offshore wind projects. The biggest of these projects commits $1.2 billion to renewable energies. In addition to cutting 648,600 tons of carbon dioxide emissions, equivalent to removing one coal-fired plant, the wind farm can be expected to generate about 600 jobs in the construction phase and 40 permanent jobs in the operating phase. This is a clear example of how investments in renewable energy are both a tool to fight climate change and boost economic growth.
We need to replicate these examples in order to accelerate our actions in favor of the planet. We hope this report will encourage investors, business leaders and policy makers to take the lead in the transition towards a climate-resilient society, so that prosperity can be shared between us and the generations to come.