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Annual investment in new renewable power capacity is set to rise by anywhere from two-and-a-half times to more than four-and-a-half times between now and 2030, finds a report from Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF).

The report says the likeliest scenario implies a jump of 230%, to $630 billion per year by 2030 - more than three times the investment in the renewable energy capacity that was built in 2012. BNEF notes that this 2030 investment figure is 35% higher than that produced in its last global forecast a year ago, and the projection for total installed renewable energy capacity by 2030 is 25% higher than in that previous forecast, at 3.5 GW.

According to the report, this growth is driven by further improvements in the cost-competitiveness of wind and solar technologies relative to fossil fuel alternatives, as well as an increase in the roll-out of non-intermittent clean energy sources like hydro, geothermal and biomass, the report explains.

In the power sector, the research company’s latest forecasts project that 70% of new power generation capacity added between 2012 and 2030 will be from renewable technologies (including large hydro). Only 25% will be in the form of coal, gas or oil, with the remaining being nuclear.

Wind and solar will take up the largest shares of new power capacity added in terms of gigawatts by 2030, accounting for 30% and 24%, respectively. By 2030, BNEF adds, renewable technologies will account for 50% of new power generation capacity installed around the world, up from 28% in 2012. In terms of power produced, the share of renewables will increase from 22% in 2012 to 37% in 2030.

“The news right now is dominated by stories of pain caused by overcapacity on the supply side of clean energy and the lure of cheap shale gas,” comments Michael Liebreich, chief executive of BNEF. “But this is playing out against the falling costs of renewable energy and of all the technologies required to integrate it into our energy system, and falling costs win. What it suggests is that we are beyond the tipping point towards a cleaner energy future.”


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