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India, China led investments in renewable energy in 2015

India and China led developing countries in investments made in renewable energy in 2015, when for the first time commitments in solar, wind and other renewables capacity by emerging economies surpassed those by wealthy nations, a UN-backed report has said.

The report ‘Global Trends in Renewable Energy Investment 2016’ by the UN Environment Programme said the developing world including China, India and Brazil committed a total of USD 156 billion in new renewables capacity last year, up 19 per cent from 2014. 

Investments by developed countries were down eight per cent in 2015 to USD 130 billion. The year 2015 was the first time when investment in renewables in developing countries outweighed that in developed economies, the report said.

A large part of the record-breaking investment in developing countries took place in China, which lifted its investment by 17 per cent to USD 102.9 billion, more than a third of global commitments.

India was also among the top 10 investing countries in renewable energy, with its commitments rising 22 per cent to USD 10.2 billion.

The US, Japan, UK Brazil, South Africa, Mexico and Chile all made it to the top 10 investing countries in 2015. “The investment (in India) took place against a backdrop of pro-renewable policies introduced by India’s BJP government. These include a target to almost-triple wind capacity to 60 GW by 2022,” the report said.

Within the developing-economy category, the “Big Three” of China, India and Brazil saw investment rise 16 per cent to USD 120.2 billion, while other developing economies enjoyed a 30 per cent bounce to USD 36.1 billion.

Among developed countries, investment in Europe was down 21 per cent, from USD 62 billion in 2014 to USD 48.8 billion in 2015, the continent’s lowest figure for nine years despite record investments in offshore wind projects.

The US was up 19 per cent to USD 44.1 billion, and in Japan investment was much the same as the previous year at USD 36.2 billion.

The report said India enjoyed a second successive year of increasing investment, breaching the USD 10 billion for the first time since 2011.

It added that the highlight of India’s performance in 2015 was a jump in utility-scale solar financings to USD 4.6 billion, up 75 per cent on the previous year, although still a little below the 2011 record of USD 4.9 billion.

Among the big projects getting the financial go-ahead were the NTPC Kadiri PV plant phase one, at 250 MW, and the Adani Ramanathapuram PV installation, at 200 MW.

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