The following key sectors represent several recent industry trends:
Although hydropower is still the main source of renewable energy, rapidly falling costs have made solar PV the largest market for new investment. In fact, unsubsidized solar PV-generated electricity has now become cost- competitive with fossil fuels in a growing number of locations around the world. The recovery that began in 2013 for solar PV continued in 2014, with an estimated 40 GW installed for a total global capacity of about 177 GW.15 China, Japan, and the US accounted for the vast majority of new capacity. However, significant new capacity was planned or added in Latin America, several African countries, and markets in the Middle East such as Saudi Arabia. In January 2014, Dubai Electricity & Water Authority awarded a contract to build a 200 MW, US$330 million PV plant to a group led by Saudi Arabia’s ACWA Power International.16. Most EU markets declined for the third consecutive year, but the region — particularly Germany — continued to lead the world in terms of total solar PV capacity and contribution to the electricity supply.
Wind is still the cheapest option for new power generation, and global wind power added a record 51 GWin 2014 — the most of any renewable technology — for a total of 370 GW. An estimated 1.7 GW of grid-connected capacity was added offshore for a world total exceeding 8.5 GW. Wind energy is the least-cost option for new power generating capacity in an increasing number of locations, and new markets continued to emerge in Africa, Asia, and Latin America. Asia remained the largest market for the seventh consecutive year, led by China, and overtook Europe in total capacity. The US was the leading country or wind power generation. After years of operating in the red, most turbine maker spulled back into the black with all the top 10 companies breaking installation records.
Most hydro-electric projects of more than 50 MW have been in operation for decades and represent a different stage in renewable technology. However, mention should be made of several recent achievements in this sector. These are led by the final commissioning of the giant 13.9 GW Xiluodu Dam in Yunnan and Sichuan provinces, China. In addition, Andritz, an Austrian company, has been awarded a contract to supply electromechanical equipment for the 2.1 GW Lauca hydropower plant in Angola.
Global investment in renewable energy production