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Together with energy efficiency, clean energy technologies such as solar and wind are central to the fight against climate change. They are available today, getting better and cheaper all the time, and help improve air quality whilst creating new jobs. Photo©UN/Eskinder Debebe

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The new Renewables 2014 Global Status Report from the policy network REN 21 paints a picture of robust global growth in the renewables energy sector with developing countries driving a lot of the new advances in policy.

But it also underlines that all governments can do a lot more to speed up the pace of change with greater policy certainty and smarter policy initiatives which benefit the wider economy and society. 

The report shows that the world now derives 22 percent of its power from renewable energy sources. The relative pace of renewables growth versus other power sources also shows that this should continue. In 2013, renewables accounted for more than 56% of net additions to global power capacity.

Considering only net investment in new power capacity, renewables outpaced fossil fuels for the fourth year running.

Government's Critical Role Creating Policy Certainty   

The report said that governments are increasingly aware of renewable energy's potential role in advancing national development, including the many related benefits of better health, cleaner environment, new jobs, reduction in poverty and improving the lives of women.

However, the second consecutive year of decline in investment was due in part to uncertainty over incentive policies in Europe and the United States, and to retroactive reductions in support in some countries, it said.

Major Shift in Renewables Building Prices

Las year also saw an end to eight consecutive years of rising renewable energy investment in developing countries but the global decline also resulted from sharp reductions in the technology costs of renewables, meaning more is now being built for less.

This was particularly true for solar PV, which saw record levels of new installations in 2013, despite a 22% decline in dollars invested.

Further Highlights of the Report:

  • China, the US, and Germany remain top for total installed renewable power capacity.
  • Uruguay, Mauritius, and Costa Rica were among top countries for investment in new renewable power and fuels relative to annual GDP.
  • By early 2014, at least 144 countries had renewable energy targets and 138 countries had renewable energy support policies in place, up from the 138 and 127 countries, respectively, in 2013.
  • Developing and emerging economies led the expansion in recent years and account for 95 of the countries with support policies, up from 15 in 2005.
  • It is increasingly evident that renewables are no longer dependent upon a small handful of countries.
  • As markets have become more global, renewable energy industries have increased flexibility, diversified products and developed global supply chains.

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