D.C.----Renewable energy technologies set new installation records as
their contribution to the global energy mix continued to climb in 2013.
Renewable power capacity jumped more than 8 percent in 2013, accounting
for over 56 percent of net additions and now has the potential to
account for over a fifth of world electricity generation. These are
some of the findings of the latest edition of the annual Renewables
Global Status Report, released by the Paris-based Renewable Energy
Policy Network for the 21st Century (REN21). The report is the product
of a collaborative effort of an international network of more than 500
contributors, researchers, and authors.
energy technologies have entered the mainstream," says Worldwatch
Institute Senior Fellow Janet Sawin, the report's research director and
lead author. "As awareness of the potential of renewables spreads
around the world, and as these technologies continue to advance and
prices fall, this impressive growth could further accelerate."
renewable energy technologies registered strong showings in 2013. At
least 39 gigawatts (GW) of new solar PV capacity was added worldwide
throughout the year. Wind energy continues to be a strong global force
despite a decrease from 2012, primarily due to a slowdown in the
American market. More than 35 GW of wind power capacity was added in
2013, with wind alone now meeting 20 to more than 30 percent of
annual electricity demand in countries such as Spain and Denmark. In
addition to power generation technologies, heating and cooling from renewable sources such as
modern biomass, solar, and geothermal account for a gradually rising
share of final global heat demand, amounting to an estimated 10
PV had an extraordinary year, and the sector's performance is an
indication of exciting things to come," says Sawin. "Even
though global investment in solar PV was down 22 percent in 2013 in
dollar terms, new capacity installations reached a record high, up more
than 32 percent over 2012, an effect of dramatic cost reductions over
the past few years."
renewable energy sector's rapid growth is being led increasingly by
developing and emerging nations.The 95
developing countries that have support policies in place for renewables
today comprise the majority of the 138 countries with such policies
around the world. In 2005, only 15 developing countries had renewable
support policies, indicating a more-than sixfold increase in just eight
years. The rise of support in the developing world contrasts with
declining support and policy uncertainty in some industrialized economies, including several
European countries and the United States.
global policy landscape remains dynamic," says Evan Musolino,
Worldwatch research associate and co-author of the report's policy
chapter. "In addition to these new national policies, support at
the sub-national level is playing a critical role in countries such as
Canada, India, and the United States. In many places, municipal
governments have emerged as some of the most active and ambitious
drivers of renewable energy growth."
REN21's 2014 report notes
that policy mechanisms continue to evolve. New policies advanced or
managed the integration of high shares of renewable electricity into
existing power systems, including through support for energy storage,
demand-side management, and smart grid technologies.
slate of robust policies coupled with continuing technological
advances, falling prices, and innovations in financing have made
renewables more affordable for a broader range of consumers worldwide.
Showcasing the increasingly crucial role that renewables can play in
national development-including in expanding energy access-the
Renewables 2014 Global Status Report will be launched on June 4th at the
Sustainable Energy for All Forum at United Nations Headquarters in New
"Renewables are one of
the most important tools in this century for social, economic, and
environmental progress," says Alexander Ochs, director of climate
and energy at Worldwatch. "The paradigm that being dirty is good
for the green in your pocket is eroding. This report demonstrates that
we can overcome the political barriers and vested interests still in
the way of a smarter, safer, and healthier world."
Renewables Global Status Report is the world's most frequently
referenced report on the renewable energy market, industry, and policy
developments. The 2014 edition is available publicly at www.ren21.net/gsr.
highlights of the report include:
Renewable energy provided an estimated 19 percent of global final
energy consumption in 2012, with modern renewables accounting for 10
percent and the remaining 9 percent coming from traditional biomass.
Renewables accounted for more than 56 percent of net additions to
global power capacity in 2013. These new additions saw non-hydropower
renewables collectively grow nearly 17 percent to an estimated 560 GW.
China, the United States, Brazil, Canada, and Germany, respectively,
remained the top countries for total installed renewable power
capacity. In China, new renewable power capacity surpassed new fossil
fuel and nuclear capacity for the first time. Denmark, Germany,
Portugal, Spain, Sweden, and Austria, respectively, led all countries in
per capita renewable power capacity installed as of end-2013.
Global new investment in renewable power and fuels was at least $249.4
billion in 2013, while investments in non-hydro renewables were down 14
percent relative to 2012 and 23 percent lower than the record level in
2011. The decline was due to sharp reductions in technology costs,
particularly for solar PV, but also policy uncertainty in the United
States and parts of Europe.
Renewables are increasingly a driver of economic growth, accounting for
an estimated 6.5 million direct or indirect jobs in 2013.
Growing numbers of cities, states, and regions seek to transition to
100 percent renewable energy in either individual sectors or
economy-wide. For example, Djibouti, Scotland, and the small-island
state of Tuvalu all aim to derive 100 percent of their electricity from
renewable sources by 2020. Many individual municipalities and regions
have already achieved economy wide or sectoral 100% renewable energy