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Renewable Energy Record

For the first time, more solar PV than wind power capacity was added worldwide accounting for about one-third of renewable power capacity added during the year. Photo provided by the United Nations Environment Programme.

Global renewable energy electricity capacity increased by more than eight percent in 2013, achieving a new record level, according to a United Nations-supported report released on June 3. Renewable energy sources met about one-fifth of world energy consumption, according to the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) Renewables 2014 Global Status Report.

The 2014 report credits support policies with a central role in driving global renewable energy capacity to a new record level last year of more than 1,560 gigawatts (GW). Among the 2013 highlights:

• Renewables accounted for more than 56 percent of net additions to global power capacity.

• For the first time, more solar photovoltaic generating capacity was added than wind power capacity worldwide.

• Hydropower capacity rose by four percent to approximately 1,000 GW in 2013, accounting for about one-third of renewable power capacity added during the year.

China, the United States, Brazil, Canada and Germany remained the top countries for total installed renewable power capacity, the report found. Global new investment in renewable power and fuels worldwide was at least $249 billion in 2013, down from its record level in 2011. However, the number of emerging economy nations with policies in place to support the expansion of renewable energy has surged more than six-fold in just eight years, from 15 developing countries in 2005 to 95 early in 2014.