Another year, another major improvement in terms of the amount of renewable energy produced with the release of world renewable energy report for 2015, and Africa is solidifying its place as a continental powerhouse.
Released by the Renewable Energy Policy Network for the 21stCentury (REN21), the Renewables 2015 Global Status Report shows that once again each year is seeing progressively more renewable energy generated than the last.
In 2004 – when REN21 began monitoring these figures – US$45bn was invested in renewable energies and fuel.
In 2013 this increased substantially to US$232bn while last year we as a planet reached a new record of US$270bn.
Likewise, over the course of 10 years, the planet’s renewable energy power capacity (excluding hydro) grew from 85GW to 657GW.
But perhaps most interesting and promising from the results appears to be how the developing nations – in Africa particularly – are rapidly shifting towards wind and solar energy production.
According to REN21, investment in developing countries was up 36pc from the previous year to US$131.3bn.
This means that developing country investment came the closest ever to surpassing the investment total for developed economies, which reached US$138.9 billion in 2014, up only 3pc from 2013.
However, REN21 put China in the category of a developing nation, despite the country leading the world and accounting for 63pc of the ‘developing’ nations listed.
Breaking down top-five lists of different sectors, REN 21 shows that while China and the US are still dominant overall, developing nations like Kenya (geothermal power) and Burundi (investment in renewables per GDP) show that major changes are occurring in the sector.
Looking at the economic impact of renewables in 2014, the REN21 report says that over the course of the year worldwide, 7.7m jobs were created mostly in Chinese solar power production accounting for just over 1m jobs.
By Colm Gorey, www.siliconrepublic.com