With Developing World’s Policy Support, Global Renewable Energy Generation Capacity Jumps to Record Level

Now 95 emerging economies nurture renewable energy growth through supportive policies, up six-fold from just 15 countries in 2005.

The number of emerging economy nations with policies in place to support the expansion of renewable energy has surged more than six-fold in just eight years, from 15 developing countries in 2005 to 95 early this year. Those 95 developing nations today make up the vast majority of the 144 countries with renewable energy support policies and targets in place. The rise of developing world support contrasts with declining support and renewables policy uncertainty and even retroactive support reductions in some European countries and the United States.

These are some of the findings of the latest edition of the annual Renewables Global Status Report, launched at the UN-hosted Sustainable Energy for All in New York by the Paris-based Renewable Energy Policy Network for the 21st Century (REN21). The 2014 report, of which ICLEI – Local Governments is a contributor, credits support policies with a central role in driving global renewable energy capacity to a new record level last year — 1,560 gigawatts (GW), up 8.3% from 2012. More than 22 % of the world’s power production now comes from renewable sources.

“Developing and emerging economies account for 70% of countries globally which support RE uptake through relevant policies and actions.” comments Emani Kumar, ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability Deputy Secretary General and ICLEI South Asia Executive Director. “Cities and regions are adopting very ambitious goals of meeting 100% of the energy demand by transitioning to renewable energy, either in specific sectors or across the economy. This is possible only through technology and market developments, finance models, as well as stable and predictable renewable energy policies, which need to be systematically linked across the public and private sectors in order to support and drive the transition process.”

In 2013, an estimated 6.5 million people worldwide worked directly or indirectly in the renewable energy sector.

Additional highlights of the report include:

  • Overall last year, renewable electricity capacity achieved a new record level, jumping 8.3% and accounting for more than 56% of net additions to global power capacity: renewables meet almost one-fifth of world final energy consumption.
  • Hydropower rose by 4% to approximately 1,000 GW in 2013, accounting for about one-third of renewable power capacity added during the year. Other renewables collectively grew nearly 17% to an estimated 560 GW.
  • Renewable energy provided 19% of global final energy consumption in 2012, and continued to grow in 2013. Of this total share in 2012, modern renewables accounted for 10% with the remaining 9% coming from traditional biomass the share of which is declining.
  • For the first time, more solar PV than wind power capacity was added worldwide.
  • Even as global investment in solar PV declined nearly 22% relative to 2012, new capacity installations increased by more than 27%. The solar PV market had a record year, adding about 38 GW in 2013 for a total of approximately 138 GW. China saw spectacular growth, accounting for nearly one third of global capacity added, followed by Japan and the United States.
  • China, the United States, Brazil, Canada, and Germany remained the top countries for total installed renewable power capacity.
  • China’s new renewable power capacity surpassed new fossil fuel and nuclear capacity for the first time.
  • Growing numbers of cities, states, and regions seek to transition to 100% renewable energy in either individual sectors or economy-wide. For example, Djibouti, Scotland, and the small-island state of Tuvalu aim to derive 100% of their electricity from renewable sources by 2020.
  • Uruguay, Mauritius, and Costa Rica were among the top countries for investment in new renewable power and fuels relative to annual GDP.
  • More than 35 GW of wind power capacity was added in 2013, totalling just more than 318 GW. However, despite several record years, the market was down nearly 10 GW compared to 2012, reflecting primarily a steep drop in the U.S. market. Offshore wind had a record year, with 1.6 GW added, almost all of it in the EU.
  • Heating and cooling from modern biomass, solar, and geothermal sources account for a small but gradually rising share of final global heat demand, amounting to an estimated 10%.
  • Global new investment in renewable power and fuels was at least USD 249.4 billion in 2013 down from its record level in 2011.

“Global perceptions of renewable energy have shifted considerably,” says Arthouros Zervos, Chair of REN21. “Over the last 10 years, continuing technology advances and rapid deployment of many renewable energy technologies have demonstrated that the question is no longer whether renewables have a role to play in the provision of energy services, but rather how we can best increase the current pace to achieve a 100% renewables future with full energy access for all. For this to be become reality, current thinking needs to change: continuing the status quo of a patchwork of policies and actions is no longer sufficient.”

“As cities seek to share and scale up best practices, highlight their commitments to renewable energy, and account for their achievements, local governments are increasingly prioritising systematic measurement and reporting of climate and energy data. ICLEI - Local Governments for Sustainability is supporting cities in this process. The Renewables 2014 - Global Status Report, prepared by the Renewable Energy Policy Network for the 21st Century with inputs from ICLEI, highlights and details this inspiring shift in global policy towards adoption of RE.” concludes Emani Kumar, who is also a member of REN21 Steering Committee.

The report can be downloaded here: http://www.ren21.net/REN21Activities/GlobalStatusReport.aspx


 Webinar on report finding: Weds. 4 June, 8 am EDT / noon GMT / 2 pm in Paris: https://www3.gotomeeting.com/register/882912582

Advance interviews are available.

Spokesperson: Christine Lins, Executive Secretary, REN21, +33 (0) 1 44 37 50 90; +33 6 40 35 76 44 (mobile in New York); christine.lins@remove-this.ren21.net

Media contact: Laura Williamson, +33 (0) 1 44 37 50 99; +1-252-531-2656 (mobile in New York); laura.williamson@remove-this.ren21.net

About REN21

REN21 is the global renewable energy policy multi-stakeholder network that connects a wide range of key actors from governments, international organizations, industry associations, science and academia, as well as civil society to facilitate knowledge exchange, policy development and joint action towards a rapid global transition to renewable energy. REN21 promotes renewable energy to meet the needs of both industrialized and developing countries that are driven by climate change, energy security, development and poverty alleviation. For more information, visit www.ren21.net.

About ICLEI - Local Governments for Sustainability

ICLEI - Local Governments for Sustainability is the world's leading association of cities and local governments dedicated to sustainable development. ICLEI is a powerful movement of 12 mega-cities, 100 super-cities and urban regions, 450 large cities as well as 450 small and medium-sized cities and towns in 84 countries.

ICLEI promotes local action for global sustainability and supports cities to become sustainable, resilient, resource-efficient, biodiverse, low-carbon; to build a smart infrastructure; and to develop an inclusive, green urban economy. The ultimate aim is to achieve healthy and happy communities. We have developed stable, long-term programs to support local-level sustainability and continue to develop innovative new programs to respond to issues of international concern.

For more information, visit www.iclei.org or contact Francesca Schraffl, ICLEI South Asia, New Delhi, India; francesca.schraffl@remove-this.iclei.org Tel: +91 – 11 – 4106 7220

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