- Published: 11 April 2016 11 April 2016
Renewable generation capacity increased by 152GW or 8.3% during 2015, the highest annual growth rate on record, according to new data released by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA). Renewable Capacity Statistics 2016 finds that as of the end of 2015, 1,985GW of renewable generation capacity existed globally. 2015 was a record year for both wind and solar due in large part to a continued decline in technology costs.
Wind power grew 63GW (17%) driven by declines in onshore turbine prices of up to 45% since 2010. In terms of regional distribution, the fastest growth in renewable generation capacity came in developing countries. Central America and the Caribbean expanded at a rate of 14.5%. In Asia, where additions accounted for 58% of new global renewable power generation capacity in 2015, capacity expanded at a rate of 12.4%. Capacity increased by 24GW (5.2%) in Europe and 20GW (6.3%) in North America. At year end, hydropower accounted for the largest share of the global total renewable power generation capacity with an installed capacity of 1,209GW, the majority of which are large-scale plants. Wind and solar energy accounted for most of the remainder, with an installed capacity of 432GW and 227GW respectively. Other renewables included 104GW of bioenergy, 13GW of geothermal energy and about 500 MW of marine energy (tide, wave and ocean). About 95% of wind capacity is now located in Asia (China and India), Europe and North America; and 90% of new capacity was installed in those regions in 2015 (57.1GW). Wind energy is also starting to expand rapidly in other regions such as South America, where capacity increased by 3.1GW (40%) in 2015.