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UAE to build on lead in renewables

The UAE leads the region in renewable energy, according to the International Renewable Energy Agency, and is working to increase its capacity further.

The country now produces 139 megawatts from renewable sources, up from 134MW in 2015 and 13MW in 2012.

Renewable Energy Capacity Statistics 2017, by the agency that has its base in Abu Dhabi, also found that last year was the strongest for new renewable capacity around the world, which was up by 161 gigawatts.

The agency estimated that by the end of last year, global capacity reached 2,006GW, with solar energy showing especially strong growth.

“We are witnessing an energy transformation around the world and this is reflected in another year of record-breaking additions in new renewable energy capacity,” said the agency’s director general, Adnan Amin.

He said the growth showed a strengthening business case for renewables, which would create jobs and help the environment.

“This new data is an encouraging sign that although there is much yet to do, we are on the right path,” Mr Amin said.

The agency’s data showed the world’s renewable energy capacity grew by 8.7 per cent last year, with a record 71GW of additional solar energy leading the way.

Among the UAE’s largest are the 110-megawatt Shams 1 solar station, Meydan race track and Masdar City Powerplant.

Projects in the pipeline include the Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park.

Globally, 2016 was the first year since 2013 that solar growth outpaced wind energy, which rose by 51GW, while hydropower and bioenergy capacities increased 30GW and 9GW – the best year yet for in bioenergy.

Geothermal energy capacity increased by less than 1GW.

Asia accounted for 58 per cent of new renewables last year, giving it 812GW, or about 41 per cent of global capacity. It was also the fastest growing region, with a 13.1 per cent increase in renewable capacity. Africa installed 4.1GW of capacity last year, twice as much as 2015.

Globally, up to 60 million households, or 300 million people, are served with and benefit from off-grid renewable power.

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The National