Renewables take bigger share of 2013 global power market - report

by Nina Chestney | Reuters
Monday, 7 April 2014 15:45 GMT

A bird sits on a solar panel at a solar power station on the outskirts of Simferopol, Ukraine, March 25, 2014. REUTERS/Vasily Fedosenko

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LONDON, April 7 (Reuters) - Renewable energy's share of global electricity generation rose to 8.5 percent last year even though investment fell due to lower prices for solar systems and policy uncertainty in many countries, a U.N.-backed report showed on Monday.

Renewables, excluding hydropower, accounted for 8.5 percent of global electricity generation, up from 7.8 percent in 2012, according to research by the United Nations' Environment Programme and Bloomberg New Energy Finance.

Some leading renewable technology manufacturers returned to profitability last year and there was a more positive attitude towards renewables among public market investors which helped market share grow, the report said.

However, investment in renewable energy fell by 14 percent to around $214 billion due to price cuts for solar photovoltaic (PV) systems and uncertainty over subsidies.

The cost of the two leading renewable technologies - onshore wind and solar PV - have decreased sharply over the past few years.

Government subsidies for renewables have also been reduced in most countries and uncertainty about policy changes have often caused project delays.

"The fact that renewable energy is gaining a bigger share of overall generation globally is encouraging," U.N. under-secretary-general and executive director of UNEP Achim Steiner said in a statement.

"While some may point to the fact that overall investment in renewables fell in 2013, the drop masks the many positive signals of a dynamic market that is fast evolving and maturing."

China overtook Europe in 2013 as the world leader in renewable energy investment by spending $56.3 billion, compared to second-placed Europe's $48.4 billion.

The United States invested $35.8 billion and was ousted from the third position by Asia and Oceania (excluding China and India), which invested $43.3 billion, the report said.

While most nations reduced investment in renewables last year, countries which bucked the trend were Britain, Japan, Uruguay, Chile, Canada, Israel and New Zealand.

The full report is available at: http://bit.ly/QC1ssj

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