Originally published on Energy Post.
By Karel Beckman
Global renewable electricity energy capacity rose to a new record level last year — more than 1,560 gigawatts (GW), up 8% from 2012. More than 22 % of the world’s power production now comes from renewable sources. Renewables currently meet almost one-fifth of world final energy consumption.
That is one of the conclusion of the new Renewables Global Status Report published by REN21, “the global renewable energy policy multi-stakeholder network.”
The Renewables Global Status Report relies on up-to-date renewable energy data , provided by an international network of more than 500 contributors, researchers, and authors.
With developing world’s policy support, global renewable energy generation capacity jumped to a record level; 95 emerging economies now nurture renewable energy growth through supportive policies, up six-fold from just 15 countries in 2005.
These 95 developing nations 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. Other important developments include:
• 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.
• 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%.
• Liquid biofuels provide about 2.3% of global transport fuel demand.
• 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.
• The solar PV market had a record year, adding about 39 GW in 2013 for a total of approximately 139 GW. For the first time, more solar PV than wind power capacity was added worldwide, accounting for about one-third of renewable power capacity added during the year. Even as global investment in solar PV declined nearly 22% relative to 2012, new capacity installations increased by more than 32%. China saw spectacular growth, accounting for nearly one third of global capacity added, followed by Japan and the United States.
• 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.
• 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.
• Global new investment in renewable power and fuels was at least USD 249.4 billion in 2013 down from its record level in 2011.
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