Renewables Global Status Report 2014

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

Launched at the UN-hosted Sustainable Energy for All in New York, the 2014 report 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.

“ISES congratulates REN-21 for its superb work in the annual update on the status of the rapid growing renewable energy sector. The GSR has become the definitive reference report on the status of renewable energy technology capacity, policies, industry and financing. The International Solar Energy Society is pleased to have had the opportunity to contribute to the report.   We regularly use the credible and factual information contained in these reports to promote the opportunities, pathways, and status for achieving a 100% renewable energy world.”  David Renné, President of the International Solar Energy Society (ISES).
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.

In 2013, an estimated 6.5 million people worldwide worked directly or indirectly in the renewable energy sector. Among other highlights in the report:

  • Overall last year, renewables accounted for more than 56% of net additions to global power capacity.  
  • 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. 
  • 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. 

Download the GSR 2014
The recently released Renewables Global Status Report 2014 can be downloaded from the REN21 website here.  

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