Over $2.6 trillion spent on renewables in last decade

The period of 2010-2019 has seen a "startling transformation" in the renewable energy space, with falling costs and mammoth investment driven, in part, by low interest rates.

From the report: Renewable energy capacity investment (US$) from 2010 to H1 2019, top 20 countries
From the report: Renewable energy capacity investment (US$) from 2010 to H1 2019, top 20 countries

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The investment of $2.6 trillion by the end of this year will have quadrupled renewable energy capacity from 414GW at the end of 2009 to 1.65TW, excluding large-scale hydro, according to a new report by the UN Environment Programme in cooperation with Frankfurt School-UNEP Collaborating Centre for Climate & Sustainable Energy Finance and BloombergNEF.

In that period 458GW of onshore wind and 29GW of offshore wind capacity has been installed up to mid-2019, according to the report.

Coal generation worldwide has also increased by 529GW over the ten-year period.

Unsurprisingly, China led the way in investment, spending $758 billion in new renewable energy generation in the last ten years.

This was followed by $698 billion by the whole of Europe, and $356 billion from the US.

That growth of capacity has coincided with an equally dramatic fall in the cost of renewable energy.

The report found over the last ten years onshore wind is 46% cheaper, with offshore wind also down 44%. Solar PV, meanwhile, is 81% cheaper.

"We cannot afford to be complacent. Global power sector emissions have risen about 10% over this period. It is clear that we need to rapidly step up the pace of the global switch to renewables if we are to meet international climate and development goals," said UN Environment Programme executive director, Inger Andersen.

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