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Hyundai Motor Group said on Tuesday that it plans to invest 41 trillion won ($34.65 billion) in mobility technology and strategic investments by 2025, as South Korea’s top automaker accelerates its attempts to catch up in the self-driving car race.
The plan, which Hyundai said encompassed autonomous, connected and electric vehicles, comes after the company and two of its affiliates announced an investment of $1.6 billion in a joint venture with U.S. self-driving tech firm Aptiv.
Hyundai’s plan also received a boost from the South Korean government, which said on Tuesday that it plans to spend 1.7 trillion won from 2021-27 to boost autonomous vehicle technology.
The government expects Hyundai to launch a nationwide service of fully autonomous cars to fleet customers in 2024 and the general public by 2027.
This push is part of a blueprint for future cars President Moon Jae-in announced at an event at Hyundai Motor’s research centre near Seoul.
The government said it was conducting a feasibility study for its proposed funding boost, which would include parts, systems and infrastructure. It said Korea lags behind in self-driving car software and key parts like sensors and chips, despite the country’s advanced, fifth-generation mobile data network.
South Korea also said it would prepare a regulatory and legal framework to ensure the safety of autonomous cars by 2024.
“We will actively transition from combustion-engine cars to future cars,” Industry Minister Sung Yoon-mo said at a media briefing on Tuesday.
The government also aims to lay the technological and legal groundwork for the demonstration of flying cars in 2025. Hyundai Motor’s executive vice chairman Euisun Chung has said the company is looking at developing flying cars, which could be commercialized ahead of the most advanced self-driving cars.
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Volvo Cars introduced Wednesday the XC40 Recharge, its first electric car under a new EV-focused brand that kicks off a company-wide shift toward electrification.
“It’s a car of firsts and it’s a car of the future,” CTO Henrik Green said.
The Volvo XC40 Recharge is the first electric vehicle in the automaker’s portfolio. It’s also the first Volvo to have an infotainment system powered by Google’s Android operating system as well as have the ability to make over-the-air software updates.
This is also the first vehicle under Volvo’s new Recharge brand. Recharge, which was announced this week, will be the overarching name for all chargeable Volvos with a fully electric and plug-in hybrid powertrain, according to the company.
The all-electric vehicle is based off Volvo’s popular XC40 small SUV. However, this is not a retrofit of a gas-powered vehicle.
The XC40 Recharge is equipped with an all-wheel drive powertrain and a 78 kilowatt-hour battery that can travel more than 400 kilometers (248 miles) on a single charge, in accordance with WLTP. The WLTP, or Worldwide Harmonised Light Vehicle Test Procedure, is the European standard to measure energy consumption and emissions, and tends to be more generous than the U.S. EPA estimates. The EPA estimates are not yet available, but it’s likely the XC40 Recharge will hit around the 200-mile range.
That would put the range of the Volvo XC40 Recharge below the Tesla Model 3, Chevy Bolt EV, Kia Niro and Hyundai Kona.
However, Volvo did make a vehicle with impressive horsepower and fast charging capability, which could attract buyers. The vehicle’s electric motor produces the equivalent of 408 horsepower and 442 pound-feet of torque that allows the vehicle to go from zero to 60 mph in 4.8 seconds. The battery charges to 80% of its capacity in 40 minutes on a fast-charger system.
Android-powered infotainment The infotainment system in the all-electric Volvo XC40 will be powered by an automotive version of Android OS, and, as a result, bring into the car embedded Google services such as Google Assistant, Google Maps and the Google Play Store.
This Android-powered infotainment system is the product of a years-long partnership between the automaker and Google. In 2017, Volvo announced plans to incorporate a version of its Android operating system into its car infotainment systems. A year later, the company said it would embed voice-controlled Google Assistant, Google Play Store, Google Maps and other Google services into its next-generation Sensus infotainment system.
The Android-powered infotainment system is fully integrated with Volvo On Call, the company’s digital connected services platform. Plug-in hybrid drivers using the Volvo On Call will be able to track how much time they spend driving on electric power.
The infotainment system in the Polestar 2, the new vehicle from Volvo’s standalone performance brand, also is powered by Android OS.
Android Automotive OS shouldn’t be confused with Android Auto, which is a secondary interface that lies on top of an operating system. Android Automotive OS is modeled after its open-source mobile operating system that runs on Linux. But instead of running smartphones and tablets, Google modified it so it could be used in cars.
Volvo isn’t the only automaker to partner with Google to bring Android OS into its vehicles. GM began shipping vehicles with Google Android Automotive OS in 2017, starting with the Cadillac CTS and expanding to other brands. GM said in September that Google will provide in-vehicle voice, navigation and other apps in its Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet and GMC vehicles starting in 2021.
Over-the-air software updates The electric XC40 is also the first Volvo that will receive software and operating system updates over the air. Over-the-air, or wireless, software updates were popularized by Tesla, which has used the capability to improve its vehicles over time. Tesla has used the OTAs to fix software bugs, roll out new features in its infotainment system and improve performance.
Volvo intends to use OTAs for the operating system and other software inside the vehicle, Green said. Other automakers, with the exception of Tesla, have slowly inched toward OTAs, but have minimized its use, and limited it to the infotainment system.
“So now the XC40 will stay as fresh as your phone or tablet, and no longer will a car’s best day be the day it leaves the factory,” Green said.
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GUANGZHOU, GUANGDONG, CHINA – 2019/10/03: American multinational technology company, Microsoft logo seen in Guangzhou. (Photo by Alex Tai/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)
Microsoft today announced two new open-source projects: Dapr, a portable, event-driven runtime that takes some of the complexity out of building microservices, and the Open Application Model (OAM), a specification that allows developers to define the resources their applications need to run on Kubernetes clusters and which Microsoft developed in cooperation with Alibaba Cloud.
As Microsoft Azure CTO Mark Russinovich told me ahead of today’s launch, OAM very much solves a problem that a lot of developers and ops teams are facing every day. “If you take a look just at the Kubernetes ecosystem, Kubernetes has no concept of an application,” he explained. “It’s got the concept of a deployment and services, but nothing that coherently connects these things together into one unit and deployment lifecycle that a developer would understand in the way they look at their applications.” He argues that while Kubernetes has Helm charts, once an application is deployed, Kubernetes doesn’t know about the relationships between the objects that were represented in that chart. “We need a first-class application concept in a Kubernetes cluster.”
OAM is essentially a YAML file. It can be put in a service catalog or marketplace and deployed from there. But what’s maybe most important, says Russinovich, is that the developer can hand off the specification to the ops team and the ops team can then deploy it without having to talk to the developer. He also argues that Kubernetes itself is too complicated for enterprise developers. “At this point, it’s really infrastructure-focused,” he said. “You want a developer to focus on the app. What we saw when we talked to Kubernetes shops, they don’t let developers near Kubernetes.”
As for the cooperation with Alibaba Cloud on this specification, Russinovich noted that the two companies were already working on other projects together and that they both encountered the same problems when they talked to their customers and internal teams. Over time, they plan to bring the specification into an open-source foundation.
Alibaba Cloud will launch a managed service based on OAM, and chances are that Microsoft will do the same over time. “We’re looking to see what adoption looks like to decide,” Russinovich said.
While OAM solves an obvious problem for developers and ops team and fills a gap, Russinovich argues that Dapr may actually be quite revolutionary. “If you take a look at Dapr, it is really going to make microservices, cloud-native development, accessible to the enterprise.”
So what is Dapr? Microsoft describes it as “open source, portable, event-driven runtime that makes it easy for developers to build resilient, microservice stateless and stateful applications that run on the cloud and edge.”
That’s a mouthful, but the general idea here is to make it easier for developers to write distributed, microservice-based applications. “If you take a look at the list of problems they run into, they want to be event-driven, so they have to manage things like events and responding to triggers,” he said. “They want communication between these microservices, so they’ve got to do pub/sub. They’ve got to do service discovery — how do I get a service from one microservice to another one. They’ve got to do state management — how does my microservice store state and retrieve it.” And then, depending on whether it’s a stateless or stateful app, developers have to work with different SDKs and programming models. Dapr, on the other hand, doesn’t need an SDK because it delivers its services through a local HTTP or gRPC endpoint, keeping the application code separate from the Dapr code. Because of this, Dapr is also independent of the language you write in.
Dapr abstracts a lot of this away and provides the building blocks (which can be accessed by HTTP or gRPC APIs) that encode best practices for building these distributed services.
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WeWork is considering a bailout that will hand control of the co-working giant to SoftBank Group Corp., according to a person familiar with the matter, one of two main options to rescue the once high-flying startup.
The Japanese investment powerhouse controlled by billionaire Masayoshi Son is convinced it can turn around the cash-strapped American company with the right financial controls in place, the person said, asking not to be identified talking about internal deliberations. WeWork’s board and backers however are also weighing another option: JPMorgan Chase & Co. is leading discussions about a $5 billion debt package, Bloomberg has reported.
Either rescue package, or some combination of them, would ease a cash crunch that could leave the office-sharing company short of funds as soon as next month. We Co., the parent of WeWork, had been headed toward one of the year’s most hotly anticipated IPOs before prospective investors balked at certain financial metrics and flawed governance, turning the American giant into a cautionary tale of private market exuberance and costing the company’s top executive his job.
The fast-growing, money-losing startup had been counting on a stock listing — and a $6 billion loan contingent on a successful IPO — to meet its cash needs.
The Wall Street Journal first reported that SoftBank may be discussing a deal to gain control of WeWork. Representatives for the Japanese company weren’t immediately available for comment Monday, a national holiday.
SoftBank is already WeWork’s biggest shareholder but the proposed deal would shore up its control of the startup, the person said, declining to elaborate on when a decision on the competing offers might be reached. The Japanese company is in advanced talks to acquire more shares at a significantly lower valuation than the $47 billion WeWork sported in January, two people familiar with those discussions said last week. The New York Times has reported that members of the board would meet Monday to decide on which bailout to select.
If the board opts for the SoftBank deal, the Japanese company will be taking on a troubled enterprise at a time it’s struggling to convince the market about its longer-term investment vision. It’s also busy wooing potential investors for a successor to its record-breaking Vision Fund.
Son is going through a rocky stretch after repositioning his company from a telecommunications operator into an investment conglomerate, with stakes in scores of startups around the world. He built a personal fortune of about $14 billion with spectacularly successful bets on companies such as Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. But SoftBank’s shares are down about 30% from their peak this year as investors, unnerved by WeWork and Uber Technologies Inc.‘s disappointing debut, grow skittish about startup valuations. In an interview with the Nikkei Business magazine, Son said he is unhappy with how far short his accomplishments to date have fallen of his goals.
WeWork and Uber may be losing money now, but they will be substantially profitable in 10 years’ time, Son said in that interview. But at a private retreat for portfolio companies late last month, he had a different message: get profitable soon. At the gathering, held at the five-star Langham resort in Pasadena, California, Son also stressed the importance of good governance. Just days later, SoftBank led the ouster of WeWork’s controversial co-founder Adam Neumann.
“WeWork has retained a major Wall Street financial institution to arrange a financing,” a representative for the U.S. company said in a statement on Sunday. “Approximately 60 financing sources have signed confidentiality agreements and are meeting with the company’s management and its bankers over the course of this past week and this coming week.”
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Toyota Motor Corp unveiled a completely redesigned hydrogen-powered fuel cell sedan on Friday in its latest attempt to revive demand for the niche technology that it hopes will become mainstream.
Japan’s biggest automaker has been developing fuel-cell vehicles for more than two decades, but the technology has been eclipsed by the rapid rise of rival battery-powered electric vehicles promoted by the likes of Tesla Inc.
Ahead of the Tokyo Motor Show starting on Oct. 24, Toyota unveiled a prototype of the new hydrogen sedan built on the same platform as its luxury Lexus brand’s LS coupe. The new Mirai model boasts longer driving range than its predecessor and completely redesigned fuel cell stack and hydrogen tanks, the company said.
“We wanted to make a car that people really want to buy, not just because it’s an eco car,” Yoshikazu Tanaka, chief engineer of the new Mirai, said at the unveiling.
“We wanted something that’s fun to drive.”
Its sporty redesign with longer wheelbase and lower-slung chassis is a marked departure from the first-generation Mirai, which looks like a bulked-up Prius hybrid.
The new car also has a 30% improvement in driving range over the previous iteration’s approximately 700 kilometers (435 miles), according to the company.
Tanaka said the latest Mirai would cost less to make than its predecessor, because of a shift to mass production. The current model is mostly assembled by hand.
Costing consumers about 5 million yen ($46,500) after subsidies in Japan, the original Mirai is one of three fuel leases out the Clarity.
Toyota has sold fewer than 10,000 of the Mirai, a fuel cell sedan it touted as a game changer at its launch five years ago. By contrast, Tesla sold 25,000 of battery-powered Model S sedans in its first year and a half.
Toyota declined to disclose a price for the model and said it would be available from late next year in Japan, North America and Europe.
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A group of leading automotive and technology industry companies including Arm, Bosch, Continental, DENSO, General Motors, NVIDIA, NXP Semiconductors and Toyota have joined forces to help accelerate the delivery of safer and affordable autonomous vehicles at scale.
Autonomous Vehicle Computing Consortium (AVCC) commits to making fully self-driving vehicles a reality through industry-level collaboration.
The AVCC will start its work by developing a set of recommendations of a system architecture and a computing platform to promote scalable deployment of automated and autonomous vehicles.
Leading companies from the automotive and computing industries announced today a collaborative effort toward making fully self-driving vehicles a reality. The new Autonomous Vehicle Computing Consortium (AVCC), officially launched at Arm TechCon in San Jose, brings together industry leaders from automotive, automotive supply, semiconductor and computing to serve as the leading organization for autonomous computing expertise. Together with the consortium’s growing membership, the initial AVCC members Arm, Bosch, Continental, DENSO, General Motors, NVIDIA, NXP Semiconductors and Toyota will collaborate to help solve some of the most significant challenges to deploy self-driving vehicles at scale.
The first step toward achieving this vision and the common objective of AVCC is to develop a set of recommendations of a system architecture and a computing platform that reconciles the performance requirements of autonomous systems with the vehicle-specific requirements and limitations in terms of size, temperature range, power consumption and safety. These recommendations will be specially developed to move autonomous vehicles from today’s prototype systems to deployment at scale.
Member companies understand the technological complexities and obstacles to overcome for the deployment of autonomous vehicles. They aim to work together to enable solutions that address these challenges and create an ecosystem of industry experts to focus on innovations that to meet these goals. Working groups will share ideas and study common technological challenges, facilitating cross-industry collaboration to help the automotive industry work together by defining, educating and publishing for the benefit of all.
“The future of mobility and the safe, scalable deployment of advanced driver assistance systems to fully autonomous vehicles for mass production requires unprecedented industry collaboration,” said Dipti Vachani, senior vice president and general manager, Automotive and IoT Line of Business, Arm. “The AVCC brings together leaders from across the automotive industry landscape to tackle complex foundational technological and computing challenges to accelerate our path to a truly autonomous future.”
“As well as the development of hardware, there is a large and sophisticated autonomous vehicle software stack required,” said Michael Meier, director of engineering and product management, Drivers Assistance and Automated Driving, Bosch. “As part of the AVCC, Bosch will help to develop recommendations for software APIs for each building block in an autonomous system.”
“Denso is looking forward to creating a shared platform to focus innovation as part of the AVCC,” said Takuya Fukushima, AVCC board member, AD & ADAS Electronics Engineering Division, Denso Corporation. “The consortium brings together expertise, knowledge and innovation with a shared goal and focused strategy. It will facilitate and manage workgroups to share ideas and study common technological challenges.”
“The massive amount of technological innovation required to power fully self-driving vehicles at scale requires collaboration at an industry level,” said Massimo Osella, AVCC chairman of the board, and lab group manager, Research & Development at General Motors. “We are delighted to join this group of key leaders in the automotive industry. As the AVCC, we are working together to create the ’go to‘ organization for autonomous computing expertise to help bring this technology to market.”
“The hardware and software requirements for autonomous vehicles are enormous, requiring an energy-efficient, high-performance AI platform to process sensor data and achieve the highest levels of safety,” said Gary Hicok, senior vice president of Automotive Hardware and Software Systems at NVIDIA. “As the leader in AI computing, we are working closely with transportation innovators, tackling the complexities of developing and deploying safe autonomous vehicles at scale.”
“The path to delivering autonomous vehicles is long and complex,” said Kamal Khouri, vice president and general manager of Advanced Driver Assistance Solutions at NXP Semiconductors. “NXP welcomes the opportunity to work with the AVCC to define the computing architectures needed to help solve the huge challenge of deploying safe self-driving vehicles.”
“The AVCC understands the technological complexities and obstacles that need to be overcome for the deployment of autonomous vehicles,” said Satoru Taniguchi, AVCC board member, and project general manager, Electronics Control System Development Division at Toyota Motor Corporation. “Toyota aims to work with the other AVCC members to deliver a conceptual computing platform that addresses these challenges.”
AVCC calls on all interested parties, and members of the automotive ecosystem worldwide to accept the challenge to build the future of the industry one milestone at a time, one breakthrough at a time while sharing with the technical community each one of those important advances.
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Fujitsu has developed aa new IoT measuring device for the apparel industry. Fujitsu said in a statement that the new device promises to dramatically improve the efficiency of apparel sizing and measurements.
The company said it will additionally offer a companion app for recording information about measurements taken with the device. The measurement data generated by the new device can be transferred to a data entry created by an application on Windows such as Excel or Notepad via Bluetooth to the companion app. This makes it possible not only to improve the overall efficiency in the apparel industry, including for important tasks like measurement and inspecting goods, but may offer future potential uses in the transportation industry and the manufacturing industries.Background
In recent years, as consumer needs diversify in the apparel industry, companies are increasingly paying attention to custom order and custom-made products in addition to conventional off-the-shelf product sales and sharing services. At the same time, however, apparel retailers are struggling to keep up with this trend, and mistakes in writing or reading vouchers for alterations of ready and custom made garments are a frequent occurrence.
To solve this challenge, Fujitsu Design Ltd conceived the new device and created a crowdfunded prototype. The prototype has generated interest in a variety of industries, and Fujitsu has received inquiries not only from the apparel industry but also from possible customers in transportation and manufacturing.
By pressing a special button, the measurement data is transferred to the cursor position of the Windows application on the Bluetooth-paired PC through the dedicated companion app. This will enable the automatic input of values each time the measurement button is pressed, instead of manually transferring data to a recording sheet or slip, accelerating work efficiency and reducing errors in posting.
By reading the special pattern printed on the back of the tape (patent pending), measurements can be made in units of one millimeter. Since it isn’t necessary to rewind the measure tape when continuously measuring multiple points, users can perform measurements quickly and easily.
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Honda Motor Co Ltd said on Monday it would phase out all diesel cars by 2021 in favor of models with electric propulsion systems, as the Japanese automaker moves to electrify all of its European cars by 2025.
By next year, according to European Union emission targets, CO2 must be cut to 95 gram per km for 95% of cars from the current 120.5 gram average, a figure that has increased of late as consumers spurn fuel-efficient diesels and embrace SUVs. All new cars in the EU must be compliant in 2021.
For Honda, declining demand for diesel vehicles and tougher emissions regulations have clouded its manufacturing prospects in Europe.
Honda said in February it would close its only British car plant in 2021 with the loss of up to 3,500 jobs.
Japan’s No. 3 automaker has said it would cut the number of car model variations to a third of current offerings by 2025, reducing global production costs by 10% and redirecting those savings toward advanced research and development.
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Hyundai Motor Group will invest $1.6 billion in a joint venture to develop self-driving vehicle technologies with Aptiv , the biggest overseas investment by the South Korean carmaker to catch up to rivals in the autonomous car market.
Global carmakers and their suppliers are forging alliances to develop autonomous car technologies partly due to the need to share the huge financial and technical burdens. Hyundai has lagged global rivals who have invested heavily into developing new technologies for electrified and autonomous vehicles.
Hyundai Motor, Kia Motors and Hyundai Mobis will collectively contribute $1.6 billion in cash and $400 million in research and development resources and others, valuing the joint venture $4 billion, Hyundai Group and Aptiv said in a joint statement.
Dublin-headquarterd Aptiv, which will own 50% of the joint venture, will contribute its autonomous driving technology, intellectual property, and about 700 employees focused on the development of scalable autonomous driving solutions.
Aptiv Chief Executive Kevin Clark in a joint interview with Hyundai Executive Vice Chairman and heir apparent Euisun Chung on Monday the joint venture at this point would not get involved in running ride-hailing, data or network services of its own.
Instead, the new firm would begin testing fully driverless systems in 2020 and have a production-ready autonomous driving platform available for robotaxi providers, fleet operators and automakers in 2022.
“Uber is developing its own technology, but potentially our technology could be better than theirs and then they could also become our customers,” Chung said through a translator.
Hyundai Motor aims to commercialise its own autonomous vehicles in 2024.
Clark said the alliance would initially focus on self-driving technology for passenger vehicles. But Chung said the Aptiv partnership ultimately also could help Hyundai speed up automation for commercial vehicles, such as long-haul trucks.
The executives said their technology would be tested and developed across Asia, Europe and the United States to offer products tailored to major markets. They said they would discuss additional alliance members going forward.
The new joint venture will be based in Boston, with technology centers across the United States and Asia.
U.S. President Donald Trump, speaking before a meeting with South Korean President Moon Jae-in, said the deal would reinforce the alliance between Washington and Seoul.
Aptiv, which manufactures vehicle components and provides technology for self-driving cars, was formerly known as Delphi Automotive, which was split into Aptiv and Delphi Technologies in 2017.
Deutsche Bank said in a report that Hyundai’s cash injection would enable Aptiv to cut its near-term funding needs. But Deutsche questioned whether the new structure could deter other automakers from sourcing autonomous systems from Aptiv in the future.
GO IT ALONE STRATEGY
Aptiv’s major customers include GM, Volkswagen and Fiat, according to its annual report. Hyundai Motor is also one of its customers, a Hyundai spokesman said.
Market research firm Navigant Research put Aptiv at No.4 among automated driving system companies, following Waymo, General Motors and Ford. Hyundai was not among the top 10 vendors.
The latest investment is another sign that Hyundai has abandoned its strategy of developing technology in-house, a strategy which previously raised investor concerns that it may be left behind in the race for future mobility.
Hyundai, which along with affiliate Kia Motors ranks fifth in global sales, has joined rivals in making a series of investments in technology firms, including self-driving car tech startup Aurora, especially after Chung was promoted a year ago.
Hyundai Motor said in February that it would invest 14.7 trillion won ($12.3 billion) in future technologies such as self-driving, connectivity and car-sharing areas by 2023.
In March, Hyundai Motor and Kia announced a plan to invest $300 million in Indian ride-hailing platform Ola, following the $275 million that the pair invested in Singapore-based ride-hailing firm Grab last year.
The Aptiv venture will be headquartered in Boston. The transaction is subject to regulatory approval and is expected to close in the second quarter of 2020.
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Global investment in new capacity for renewable energy is on course to reach $2.6 trillion by the end of this decade, more than triple the amount of the previous decade, a report commissioned by the U.N. Environment Program says.
The figure excludes large hydropower projects and is equivalent to 1.2 terawatts (TW) of new renewable energy capacity this decade. That’s more than today’s entire U.S. electricity generation units and half of the 2.4 TW of total power capacity installed over the same period.
The increase stems from a fall in interest rates in major economies and a slump in costs, with the “levelised” cost of solar photovoltaics down 81%, onshore wind down 46% and offshore wind down 44% this decade.
The levelised figure is the cost of generating a megawatt hour of electricity; the upfront capital and development cost; the cost of equity and debt finance and operating and maintenance fees.
The biggest investing country during the decade is set to be China, which committed $758 billion between 2010 and mid-2019. Over the same period, Europe invested $698 billion and the United States spent $356 billion, the report said.
Solar power has attracted the most investment this decade at$1.3 trillion. By the end of this year, there will be more solar capacity installed this decade – 638 gigawatts (GW) – than any other power generation technology.
“While this demonstrates huge and lasting progress, the pace must increase. Renewables are now firmly embedded in the power generation sector but only represent 26.3% of total electricity produced – 12.9% if we exclude large hydro,” the report said.
“Fossil fuel subsidies, which run into the hundreds of billions of dollars each year, are slowing progress,” it added.
Around 529 GW of new coal plants have been added this decade, 487 GW of new wind capacity and 438 GW of new gas-fired power generation.
Although more new capacity was added for solar than coal or gas, it does not directly translate into new power generation because solar is intermittent and dependent on sunlight.
Despite the growth of renewables, global power sector emissions are likely to have risen by at least 10% by the end of this decade.
The report comes ahead of a United Nations climate summit this month, at which Secretary-General Antonio Guterres is calling for countries to give concrete and more ambitious plans to curb global warming.