MADRID, June 9 (Xinhua) -- The use of renewable energy sources throughout the world is gathering pace with 2016, seeing a 9-percent rise in the capacity to generate clean energy, according to a latest study published by the Spanish "Fundacion Renovables".
According to the foundation, 2016 saw the capacity to generate electricity from renewable energy sources increased by 161 gigawatts to a total of just over two billion gigawatts, of which of which 47 percent is produced by sunlight, 34 by the wind and 15.5 percent by water.
Speaking to Xinhua, Laura Martin-Murillo, Director of the Fundacion Renovables (Renewable Energy Foundation), which pressures for increased generation of clean energy sources in Spain, was optimistic this trend will continue.
"Last year showed the growth of renewables is unstoppable," she said, adding that renewables now produce "9 percent of the world's energy and 2016 saw a 9 percent increase in capacity".
Once the infrastructure is in place, renewable energy becomes much cheaper, with the Fundacion Renovables calculating the cost of just 0.05 U.S. dollar per kilowatt per hour -- less than the equivalent cost of producing energy with fossil fuel or nuclear energy.
"(In 2016) we did more with less; there was more renewable energy in the world, but with less investment. Renewable energy is getting cheaper all the time," Martin-Murillo said.
The decision by U.S. President Donald Trump to withdraw his country from the Paris Agreement on climate change has been met with frustration and anger.
But Martin-Murillo told Xinhua that although it was clearly bad news in the battle against global warming, it offered opportunities to other regions to take the lead and eventually the big loser will be Trump's own nation.
"China and the EU are obliged to lead the world in what the U.S. is not going to do in the fight against climate change," she said, highlighting the economic and not just the ecological effects of the decision.
"President Trump's policies see the U.S. lose a huge opportunity to compete in the expanding renewable energy industry. So the EU and China have a lot of important economic reasons to lead the change," she explained.
While the U.S. risks lagging behind in the fight against climate change and the introduction of renewable energy, developing nations such as China and India are taking up the baton to halt the release of greenhouse gasses.
It was "great news for the world" that "China and India are accelerating the development of renewables as they are the most populated nations on earth", she said.