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IRENA Renewable Energy Statistics 2019: Renewable energy generating capacity in 2018 increased by 8%

The International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) released its Renewable Energy Statistics 2019 annual report on the global capacity and use of renewable energy. This edition provides data sets on power-generation capacity for 2009-2018, actual power generation for 2009-2017 and renewable energy balances for over 130 countries and areas for 2016-2017.

As in the previous edition, the 2019 report shows stable performance in the global increase of renewable energy resulting in 2,356 GW of total generating capacity worldwide in 2018, which is 8% more than in 2017. The best results for the year were achieved by solar energy, adding 20% ​​of capacity worldwide, followed by wind energy which gained about 9%.

China, whose total renewable energy capacity is more than any other region, including the whole of Europe, has propelled Asia (1,024 GW) again to the world’s top rank. Europe (536 GW) is in second position, with 86% of total renewable energy accounting for the European Union. The USA, which has been steadily increasing its renewable energy potential every year by about 5%, is also a major player in the market, having 244 GW of total renewable energy. Germany and India have about the same indicators; with the share of total renewables steadily advancing to the 120 GW mark. Although Canada somewhat slowed down the pace of renewable capacity, its total share is 100 GW. Japan, in contrast, picked up pace, increasing its renewable energy by 15% in 2018, reaching 90 GW at the end of the year. Several EU countries such as Italy, France, Spain and the UK, have either already reached or are about to reach the mark of 50 GW.

The amount of electricity generated from renewables was 6,191 TWh in 2017, which is about 5% more than in 2016. Solar generation increased by 35%, followed by wind energy, which increased by 16%. Global hydropower generation declined by 4% overall, but still is the most important source, accounting for 65% of generated electricity, followed by wind energy (18%), bioenergy (8%), solar energy (7%) and geothermal energy (1,5%). As in many preceding years, Asia continued to perform solidly, accounting for the greatest amount of electricity generated from renewables (2,394 TWh), with an increase of 165 TWh in 2017. North America and Europe have about the same amount of 1,200 TWh, and are in second and third place respectively. Asia is also playing first fiddle in the expansion of wind and solar generation, equalling Europe in wind generation in 2017 and accounting for almost half of solar generation worldwide. IRENA estimates that about 24% of total electricity generation worldwide is renewable.

According to the report, the total public investment in renewable energy in 2017 was USA$ 29 billion. This is a $3 billion or 11.8% increase in comparison to 2016.