Renewables 2013 Global Status Report
Renewable energy markets, industries, and policy frameworks have evolved rapidly in recent years. The Renewables Global Status Report provides a comprehensive and timely overview of renewable energy market, industry, investment, and policy developments worldwide. It relies on the most recent data available, provided by a network of more than 500 contributors and researchers from around the world, all of which is brought together by a multi-disciplinary authoring team. The report covers recent developments, current status, and key trends; by design, it does not provide analysis or forecasts.
Global demand for renewable energy continued to rise during 2011 and 2012, supplying an estimated 19% of global final energy consumption in 2011 with a little less than half from traditional biomass.
Renewables made up just over half of total net additions to electric generating capacity from all sources in 2012. By year’s end, they comprised more than 26% of global generating capacity and supplied an estimated 21.7% of global electricity, with 16.5% of electricity provided by hydropower. Industrial, commercial, and residential consumers are increasingly becoming producers of renewable power in a growing number of countries. After years of rapid growth, biodiesel production continued to expand in 2012 but at a much slower rate; fuel ethanol production peaked in 2010 and has since declined. Small but growing quantities of gaseous biofuels are being used to fuel vehicles, and there are limited but increasing initiatives to link electric transport systems with renewable energy. However, uncertain policy environments and declining policy support affected investment climates in a number of established markets, slowing momentum in Europe, China, and India. Solar PV and onshore wind power experienced continued price reductions due to economies of scale and technology advances, but also due to a production surplus of modules and turbines. Combined with the international economic crisis and ongoing tensions in international trade, these developments have created new challenges for some renewable industries, and particularly for equipment manufacturers, leading to industry consolidation. However, they also have opened up new opportunities and pushed companies to explore new markets. Renewables are becoming more affordable for a broader range of consumers in developed and developing countries alike. Rural use of renewable electricity has increased with greater affordability, improved knowledge about local renewable resources, and more sophis¬ticated technology applications. Technological progress also advanced the use of renewables in the rural heating and cooking sectors. Renewables are picking up speed across Asia, Latin America, the Middle East, and Africa, with new investment in all technologies. The Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region and South Africa, in particular, witnessed the launch of ambitious new targets in 2012, as well as the emergence of policy frameworks and renewables deployment.
The top countries for renewable power capacity at year’s end were China, the United States, Brazil, Canada, and Germany; the top countries for non-hydro capacity were China, the United States, and Germany, followed by Spain, Italy, and India. By region, the BRICS nations accounted for 36% of total global renewable power capacity and almost 27% of non-hydro renewable capacity. The EU had the most non-hydro capacity
at the end of 2012, with approximately 44% of the global total. Impacts of all of these developments on jobs in the renewable energy sector have varied by country and technology, but, globally, the number of people working in renewable industries has continued to rise. An estimated 5.7 million people world¬wide work directly or indirectly in the sector. At least 138 countries had renewable energy targets by the end of 2012. As of early 2013, renewable energy support policies were identified in 127 countries. Most policies to support renewable energy target the power sector, with feed-in tariffs (FITs) and renewable portfolio stan¬dards (RPS) used most frequently.