Renewable energy investment: twice that of coal and gas

Solar and other types of clean energy can often be used as a way of saving money; in addition they can be seen as key to making cash and saving the planet, according to new data.

Renewable energy investment

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2015 was a bumper year for the clean energy industries, with global investment in energy generation through renewable means more than double the amount seen in gas-fired and coal power generation plants.

Most popular energy investment

For the first time ever, renewable energy was at the forefront of the electricity generation capacity being created around the world. It also marked the first year in which financial investment in renewables from developing countries outpaced investment from nations classed as ‘developed’.

Just as an increasing number of people are tuning into the potential of solar panels in Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK, Exeter University’s energy policy professor, Catherine Mitchell, sees a major trend in investors favouring clean energy over dirtier fossil fuels. Ms Mitchell, whose professional profile can be viewed on the University of Exeter website,, says this sort of trend – similar to that experienced within the domestic market, whereby homeowners are turning to money-making and saving solar power and companies such as – is key to avoiding the worst effects that climate change could bring about.

Last year saw around $286bn (£200bn) invested in renewable energy across the world, with this record-breaking figure superseding the previous high of $278bn experienced in 2011. This data was released in research recently published by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP).

Fighting Chinese air pollution

The data includes investments in biomass, offshore and onshore and solar power; however, it excludes investments involving hydroelectric plants. Over two-thirds of the investment (36 per cent) came from China alone, indicating a firm commitment by the country to combating air pollution through clean energy.

The amount of investment from China went up by 17 per cent between 2014 and 2015 to reach a total of $103bn. This trend looks set to continue as a result of the country’s five-year plan focussing heavily on renewable energy.

While still only reaching just 50 per cent of the level of Chinese investment, US investment committed to renewables also rose significantly, with levels up by one-fifth.

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