According to REN21’s Renewables Global Status Report for 2014, renewable electricity capacity has achieved a new record level – increasing more than 8 % in 2013 with renewables now meeting almost one-fifth of world final energy consumption.
Furthermore, REN21 reports that 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, says REN21’s Renewables 2014 Global Status Report.
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.
According to REN21: “Markets, manufacturing, and investment expanded further across the developing world, clearly illustrating that renewables are no longer dependent upon a small handful of countries.” In 2013, an estimated 6.5 million people worldwide worked directly or indirectly in the renewable energy sector.
The report’s highlights inlcude the finding that 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. Furthermore, the rport noted that a growing number of cities, states, and regions seek to transition to 100% renewable energy in either individual sectors or economy-wide.
REN21’s 2014 report says policy mechanisms continue to evolve. In 2013, feed-in policies in many countries shifted towards premium payments in the power sector, and continued to be adapted for use in the heating sector. New policies advanced or managed the integration of high shares of renewable electricity into existing power systems, including support for energy storage, demand-side management, and smart grid technologies.
“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,” said Arthouros Zervos, Chair of REN21.
“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. Instead, technology developments, finance models as well as stable and predictable renewable energy policies need to be systematically linked across the public and private sectors in order to support and drive the transition process,” added Zervos.