Excerpts. For Full Visit: http://webtv.un.org/watch/press-conference-4-june-2018/5793359057001
A new report released by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) says positive developments show that the renewable energy transition is possible, but advances so far are uneven across sectors.
Speaking to reporters in New York, Laura Williamson from the Renewable Energy Policy Network for the 21st Century (REN21) said “renewable power accounted for 70 per cent of net additions to global power generating capacity which is the largest increase of renewable power capacity in modern history. A lot of this was thanks to new solar PV.”
She added “capacity which at the end of the year had a 98 giga watts installed capacity. So to put that in context that’s equivalent to about 40,000 PV panels being installed hourly across 2017.”
According to the Renewables 2018 Global Status Report, the year 2017 was another record-breaking one for renewable energy, characterised by the largest ever increase in renewable power capacity, falling costs, increases in investment and advances in enabling technologies.
Williamson said “thanks to the technology advances and dramatic reductions in cost of, in particular solar PV and wind, renewable electricity is now less expensive than newly installed fossil and nuclear power generation in many parts of the world. And in some parts of the world, it’s even less expensive than the current operating conventional power plants.”
The report also says while China, Europe and the United States accounted for nearly 75 per cent of the global investment in renewable power and fuels, 2017 saw significant investment in developing country markets. When measured per unit of gross domestic product, the Marshall Islands, Rwanda, the Solomon Islands, Guinea-Bissau and many other developing countries are investing as much as or more in renewables than developed and emerging economies. These positive developments need to be scaled up for a global energy transition.
The report also noted that though strong growth continued in the renewable power sector, other renewable sectors grew very slowly. Solar photovoltaic (PV) capacity installations were remarkable – nearly double those of wind power (in second place) – adding more net capacity than coal, natural gas and nuclear power combined.
The report says there is slow progress in renewable energy uptake in heating and cooling. Energy demand for cooling is growing rapidly, and access to cooling is an issue for health and well-being. Renewables currently play a small role in providing cooling services, although there is considerable potential.
In addition, renewable energy progress in the transport sector remains slow. Biofuels provide most of the current renewable energy contribution, although electrification is gaining attention.