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IEA: renewable energy continuing to increase market share

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Hydrocarbon Engineering,

World production of renewable energy grew 2.6% between 2013 and 2014, reaching 1894 million toe by the end of the year. This represents around 1/7th (13.8%) of the total primary energy supply (TPES) of 13 700 million toe.

Since 1990, energy from renewable sources has grown at an average annual rate of 2.2%, higher than the 1.9% growth rate of TPES. Growth has been especially high for solar photovoltaic and wind power, at 46.2% and 24.3%, respectively, driven primarily by OECD countries and China. Hydro and solid biofuels remain the most used form of renewable energy, and grew in line with overall TPES of 2.5% and 1.5%/y, respectively.

Non-OECD countries consume around 75% of all renewables, reflecting the use of solid biomass (e.g., wood) by households. As a result, nearly half of all energy in Africa is renewable, whilst it accounts for a quarter of energy used in Asia (excluding China) and Non-OECD Americas. In OECD countries, however, the share of renewables in total energy supply is only 9.4%.

Renewables are now the second largest source of global electricity production, accounting for 22.3% of world generation in 2014. Renewables come in behind coal (40.7%), and ahead of gas (21.6%), nuclear (10.6%) and oil (4.3%).

Hydroelectricity supplies the vast majority of renewable electricity โ€“ 73.2% in total โ€“ which represents 16.4% of world electricity generation. Following rapid recent growth, solar, wind, geothermal, and tide energies accounted for 4.2% of world electricity production in 2014 and 18.7% of total renewable electricity. Since 1990, renewable electricity generation worldwide has grown on average by 3.6% per annum, slightly above the total electricity generation growth rate of 2.9%.

Electricity production from renewable products in the OECD grew 3.8% from 2014 to 2015, reaching 2471.1 TWh. This represents nearly a quarter (23.0%) of total OECD electricity production in 2015, the largest share of renewables in gross electricity production for any year in the renewables time series (from 1990).

In 1990, wind, biogases and liquid biofuels represented less than 0.6% of renewable electricity combined. Between 1990 and 2015 these technologies grew much faster than any other power source, with wind power experiencing the most notable growth โ€“ from just 0.3% of renewable electricity in 1990 to 22.9% in 2015. This represents an average annual growth rate of 22.1%, making it the second largest renewable electricity source. The share of solar PV in OECD renewable electricity production increased from a negligible amount to 7.1% in the same time period, and biogases increased from 0.3% to 3.2%. All of these sources experienced higher average growth rates than mature technologies such as hydro power (0.6%), solid biofuels (2.6%) and geothermal (2.3%). As a result, non-hydro renewable electricity production experienced 8.6% annual growth between 1990 and 2015.

Adapted from press release by Rosalie Starling

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