Study finds growth in renewable energy worldwide in 2015

Wind turbines on a field near Clear Lake in Iowa. (Thomas Huston/Flickr)
Wind turbines on a field near Clear Lake in Iowa. (Thomas Huston/Flickr)
Nick Fetty | June 1, 2016

Spending on renewable energy worldwide reached an all-time high in 2015, according to a recent study.

The Renewables Global Status Report found that “[f]or the first time, emerging economies spent more than the rich on renewable power and fuels.” China alone accounted for about one-third of the $286 billion invested in renewable energy in 2015 while countries like Mauritania, Honduras, Uruguay and Jamaica were among the biggest investors in renewable energy when compared to each country’s gross domestic product (GDP).

The report also pointed out that “[n]ew installations of renewable power generation capacity (including hydropower) rose to 1,848.5 gigawatts (GW) globally in 2015,” up 147.2 GW compared to the previous year. The increase in installed capacity is largely attributed to renewables becoming more cost-competitive with coal, gas, and oil in many markets as well as government policies that promote the use and growth of renewable energy.

Renewable energy in the Hawkeye State has followed the global trend. Iowa became the first state in the country to generate more than 30 percent of its electricity from wind power in 2015 while the state’s least-populated county recently became the site of one of the country’s largest land-based wind turbines.

The Renewables Global Status Report is published by the Renewable Energy Policy Network for the 21st Century – or REN21 – which is based at the United Nation Environment Programme in Paris. The City of Light was also the site of the historic COP21 climate agreement reached last December in which nearly 200 countries agreed to take measures to mitigate the effects of climate change.

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