19 June 2015
Record installations for wind and solar PV in 2014;
Renewable energy targets created in 20 more countries, new total: 164;
Renewables account for over 60% of net additions to world’s power capacity; Policy-makers more attentive to green energy heating / cooling;
Developing world investments on par with developed world, total $301 billion
Renewable energy targets and other support policies, now in place in 164 countries, powered the growth of solar, wind and other renewable technologies to a record-breaking energy generation capacity last year: about 135 GW of added renewable energy power increasing total installed capacity to 1,712 GW, up 8.5% from the year before.
Despite the world’s average annual 1.5% increase in energy consumption in recent years and average 3% growth in Gross Domestic Product, carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions in 2014 were unchanged from 2013 levels. For the first time in four decades, the world economy grew without a parallel rise in CO2 emissions.
The landmark “decoupling” of economic and CO2 growth is due in large measure to China's increased use of renewable resources, and efforts by countries in the OECD to promote more sustainable growth—including increased use of energy efficiency and renewable energy.
“Renewable energy and improved energy efficiency are key to limiting global warming to two degrees Celsius and avoiding dangerous climate change,” says REN21 Chair Arthouros Zervos, who released the new report at the Vienna Energy Forum.
Thanks to supportive policies now in place in at least 145 countries (up from 138 countries reported last year), worldwide power generation capacity from wind, solar photovoltaic (PV), and hydro sources alone were up 128 GW from 2013. As of end-2014, renewables comprised an estimated 27.7% of the world’s power generating capacity, enough to supply an estimated 22.8% of global electricity demand.
Solar PV capacity has grown at the most phenomenal rate—up 48-fold from 2004 (3.7 GW) to 2014 (177 GW)—with strong growth also in wind power capacity (up nearly 8-fold over this period, from 48 GW in 2004 to 370 GW in 2014).
Investment in developing countries was up 36% from the previous year to USD 131.3 billion. Developing country investment came the closest ever to surpassing the investment total for developed economies, which reached USD 138.9 billion in 2014, up only 3% from 2013. China accounted for 63% of developing country investment, while Chile, Indonesia, Kenya, Mexico, South Africa and Turkey each invested more than USD 1 billion in renewable energy.
“Clean rural electrification in developing countries has been growing on a sustained basis and its commercial viability is improving every day, even though supporting measures by the public sector often remain vital. Now it is time to accelerate investment in this highly promising market, so that all those without or with an unreliable electricity supply, can finally access proper energy services and power local economic development. Indeed, the frontrunners of today will be the leaders of tomorrow.” says Ernesto Macias REN21 Bureau Member and ARE President.