Sustainable Energy

Record year for renewables: Report

Anmar Frangoul | Special to
Christopher Furlong | Getty Images

Global investments in clean energy hit $367 billion last year, beating expectations, according to a new report from Clean Energy Canada.

The dramatic fall in the price of oil had sparked concerns that renewable energy would no longer be as attractive to investors and companies, but the report states that far more was spent on clean energy than the $253 billion invested in new power from fossil fuels.

"A third of a trillion dollars was invested in renewable power in 2015—that's serious money, and it set a new record for global clean energy investment, even in the face of stiff competition from cheap fossil fuels," Merran Smith, executive director of Clean Energy Canada, said in a news release on Monday.

"The cost of producing clean energy keeps dropping, and the fuel—sun, wind, water—is free," Smith added.

Momentum behind renewables seems to be building and the figures from Clean Energy Canada come after the landmark COP21 meeting Paris last year.

There, 195 countries agreed to make sure global warming stayed "well below" 2 degrees Celsius and to "pursue efforts" to limit the temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius.

Last year also saw offshore wind investments in Europe double, according to data from the European Wind Energy Association. Spending hit 13.3 billion euros ($14.48 billion), with the European Union's total offshore wind capacity now more than 11 gigawatts (GW) of power.