*Renewables investment remains on upward trend
*Hydro main contributor to renewable electricity supply
*China is lead renewables investor
A record 147 GW of renewable generating capacity was installed worldwide in 2015, according to REN21's Renewables Global Status Report published Wednesday.
Renewable heat capacity increased by 38 GW (thermal).
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Investment in renewable power and fuel amounted to $285.9 billion in 2015, compared with $273 billion in 2014. China led the way in renewable power investment, followed by the United States, Brazil, Germany and Canada.
Seventy-seven percent of new power installations were in wind and solar, with most of the remainder hydropower. Wind saw capacity additions of 63 GW, solar PV 50 GW and hydro 28 GW.
The report said that enough renewable capacity was in place at end-2015 to meet 23.7% of global electricity demand, with hydro comprising a 16.6% share. The share for wind was 3.7%, bio-power 2.0% and solar PV 1.2%.
Renewables provided about 8% of heating and cooling demand, according to the report, primarily from biomass, with smaller contributions from solar thermal and geothermal. The renewable contribution in road transport was 4%, derived predominantly from biofuels.
The report noted that this record investment came during a period of low fossil fuel prices and that renewables are now competitive with fossil fuels in many markets. Moreover, as of early 2016, 173 countries have renewable energy targets in place and 146 have support policies. REN21 is a non-profit association based within the United Nations Environment Programme in Paris.
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