Joint Foreword from Erik Solheim, Patricia Espinosa and Udo Steffens
The pursuit of clean energy is at the heart of world’s aspirations for a better future, as re ected in the 197 countries that have signed up to the Paris Agreement on Climate Change. Moving from fossil fuels to renewable sources such as solar and wind is key to achieving social, economic and environmental development. It will change the lives of 1.2 billion people who struggle through life with no electricity. It will create new jobs and commercial opportunities. And it will slash the air pollution that claims millions of lives each year. The annual Global Trends in Renewable Energy Investment report supports that transformation by demonstrating the progress and potential of this dynamic and fast growing sector.
Successive editions of the report during the last decade show strong support from private investors. This trend continued in 2016, with investment in renewable energy capacity outstripping that in fossil fuel generation for the fth year in a row. Excluding large hydro, some 138 gigawatts of new power capacity came online; almost 11 gigawatts more than in the previous 12 months.
The cost of achieving this was 23 per cent less than in 2015, partly due to the falling cost of clean technology. For example, the average dollar capital expenditure per megawatt dropped by over 10 per cent for solar photovoltaics and wind. Investors got more bang for their buck.
Take the Adani Group, which is just one of many companies taking advantage of the cheaper set-up costs. It has completed a massive solar plant in India, where generating energy from renewables now costs almost the same as traditional methods. The plant in Tamil Nadu covers 10 square kilometres and can power 150,000 homes. As well as making money, this will help India meet its commitment to the Paris Agreement, by generating 40 per cent of its electricity from non-fossil-fuel sources by 2030. This project created 8,500 jobs in the building phase. This is a clear example of a private company seeing and seizing the chance to do good business and build a sustainable future.
It’s a story being repeated around world as public and private sectors grasp a pro table and mutually bene cial opportunity, which will help create a more equitable, stable and peaceful world. We urge investors, business leaders and policy makers to study this report, because pro t does not have to be a dirty word. A rapid shift to clean renewable energy is not only slowing climate change, tackling pollution and ending the suffering of vulnerable communities, but boosting long-term economic prosperity and stability.
Source: Frankfurt School – UNEP Collaborating Centre for Climate & Sustainable Energy Finance.