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Five things we learned from the Renewables 2016 Global Status Report

Wind energy is the largest source of new renewable power capacity.

Today REN21, a global renewable energy multi-stakeholder policy network, released its comprehensive annual overview of the state of renewable energy.

Overall, renewable capacity is expanding significantly, with further technological innovation and increased investment responsible for the boom. Here are five crucial insights presented in the REN21 report:

1.) Renewables now supply almost a quarter of electricity worldwide
In 2015, the power sector experienced its largest ever annual increase in capacity, with wind energy and solar PV accounting for roughly 77 percent of new installations, and hydropower making up most of the remainder. By the end of the year, renewables were supplying 23.7 percent of global electricity, with hydropower contributing about 16.6 percent to this figure.

2.) Wind is the largest source of new renewable power capacity
A record 63GW of wind power was added in 2015, bringing the global total to 433GW, with non-OECD countries responsible for the majority of installations. Additionally, most major turbine manufacturers broke their own installation records.

3.) There is now double the investment in renewables than in coal-fired power
Last year, there was US $130 billion awarded to new coal and natural-gas fired power generation, while there was US $265.8 billion invested in renewable power capacity.

4.) Investment in renewable power by developing countries surpassed that of developed counterparts
Renewable energy investment in developed countries declined by eight percent, to US $130 billion, in 2015. Countries in the developing world (including China, Brazil and India) dedicated a grand total of US $156.9 billion to installing renewable capacity, with China accounting for 102.9 billion of the composite figure.   

5.) Renewable heating and cooling faces a challenge from cheap oil
Three quarters of the energy used for heating and cooling worldwide is fossil fuel based. Renewables supply just eight percent of energy for heating and cooling services, and low oil prices have been blamed for the sluggish uptake of renewables in the sector.

Read the full report on the REN21 website.

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