2015 – How important was the year for Renewable Energy?

2015 was a breakout for the Renewable energy industry, with the investments and capacity addition surpassing previous records despite falling oil, gas, and coal prices. Here are some of key figures and highlights about renewable energy in 2015, covered in a UNEP report


  1. Renewable energy added more capacity to the total world-wide energy generation capacity than all other technologies combined, accounting for nearly 54% of the added capacity in 2015.
  2. Investment in Coal and gas based generation was less than 50% of the investment in Renewable energy
  3. A record $286 Billion was invested in renewable energy, with Renewable energy investments in the developing world overtaking those in the developed world for the first time. In fact in 2015 Renewable energy investments were $156 billion (up 19%) in the developing world and $130 billion (down 8%) in the developed world.
    Developed vs Developing
    Source: ScienceDaily
  4. According to the UN, without  the renewable energy additions in 2015, global CO2 emissions would have been an estimated 1.5 gigatonnes higher in 2015 (the standard comparison benchmark for CO2 emissions is ‘tons’ of CO2)
  5. Out of the 134 GW installed in 2015, wind and solar PV technologies accounted for nearly 118 GW, shattering the 94 GW record installation in 2014 and growing by nearly 25%. Industry and governments unanimously are recognizing wind and solar as viable means to bridge energy deficit, reduce energy imports, and power the national grid while remaining non-polluting.
  6. Battery storage (to wind and solar) received much more attention in 2015, with approximately 250 MW of utility-scale storage was installed world-wide as against 160 MW in 2014 (storage excluding pumped hydro and lead-acid battery)
  7. Developing markets world-wide saw phenomenal growth – Renewable energy investments grew 17% in China (to $102.9 billion), 22% in India (to $10.2 billion), 329% in South Africa (to $4.5 billion), 105% in Mexico (to $4 billion), and 151% in Chile (to $3.4 billion). Morocco, Turkey, and Uruguay also invested more than $1 billion in Renewable Energy.
  8. In fact Renewable energy investments grew by 19% in USA (to $44 billion), remained nearly the same in Japan ($36.2 billion), and fell in Europe by 21% (to $48.8 billion)
  9. In fact USA achieved some significant milestones in 2015 as well – 31% of Iowa’s electricity was supplied by wind energy, which is the 1st time that wind has supplied more than 30% of a state’s electricity. Also, Kansas and South Dakota both generated more than 20% of their electricity from wind. These numbers signify greater integration of wind energy into the national grid.


Globally, a total of 96 cities, states, and countries have set ambitious targets to achieve 100% renewable energy integration. These trends signify a significant shift in the energy landscape, with renewable energy and developing countries taking centre stage. World around, with growth strides such as evolution of utility-scale projects and distributed generation systems, falling manufacturing prices, etc., renewable energy is now becoming much more mainstream and being recognised as a viable energy source to meet tomorrow’s energy requirements.

Featured Image source: Efergy.com