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Renewable Energy Hits Record Breaking Generating Capacity and Investments

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_74087071_solarfarm_paYear 2014 has been record breaking for the global renewable energy sector, with generating capacity exceeding 100GW. The biggest investor was China, closely followed by the U.S..

According to official figures published by UN Environment Programme (UNEP), wind and solar power have attracted 17% more investors in 2014 compared to the same figures from the previous year. Specialists account this boost to the low risk in the two sectors, guaranteed by the stable energy prices.

In total, renewable energy sources have provided 9.1% of the worlds electricity in 2014, and have contributed to a saving of 1.3 giga-tons of carbon dioxide emissions, if that same power was to be generated by fossil fuels. In other words, the amount of energy equals to the entire fleet of nuclear plants in the US, while the amount of CO2 saved is twice that of the global aviation industry.

The report states, that total amount put into new solar and wind power plants have reached the incredible US$270bn, breaking any previous records. Investments in solar have increased by 29%, while wind has been backed by an additional 11%. Both roof-top solar and large scale solar plants have shown improvement, while wind power investments are mainly concentrated in large off-shore projects, with Europe leading the charts.

China is the the world’s leading investor in renewables, with record breaking US$83.3 bn, followed by the US and Japan, investing US$38.3 bn and US$35.7 bn, respectively. Europe’s investments are allocated towards innovative technologies and grid management.

These numbers come as a great relief and incredibly good news, especially considering the dip in investments in the period between 2012-2013. Newly developed technologies and increased climate change awareness have definitely contributed to the success of the renewable energy sector.

The report highlighted two main challenges in front of the sector. Firstly, that is the fluctuations in globalĀ oil prices, although experts believe that the two sectors do not compete in terms of investments. Secondly, the uncertainty around the support that governments will give to renewables in the future, might result in erosion of investor confidence.

Image (c) PA

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