Clean power surge

Lower costs lead to record levels of renewable energy capacity

Despite a decrease in investments for the year, global renewable-energy power reached its highest capacity ever in 2016. According to Global Trends in Renewable Energy Investment 2017, a just-released report commissioned by UN Environment, falling clean-energy prices helped offset a 23 percent drop in investments compared with 2015. Investments last year were $241.6 billion, the lowest since 2013. But the lower costs of clean power sources—wind, solar, biomass/waste-to-energy, geothermal, small hydro and marine—added a record 138 gigawatts to global power capacity, an 8 percent jump from 127.5 gigawatts in 2015.