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Renewable energy provided an estimated 19% of global final energy consumption in 2012,i and continued to grow in 2013. Of this total share in 2012, modern renewables accounted for approximately 10%, with the remainder (estimated at just over 9%) coming from traditional biomass. Heat energy from modern renewable sources accounted for an estimated 4.2% of total final energy use; hydropower made up about 3.8%, and an estimated 2% was provided by power from wind, solar, geothermal, and biomass, as well as by biofuels. The combined modern and traditional renewable energy share remained about level with 2011, even as the share of modern renewables increased. This is because the rapid growth in modern renewable energy is tempered by both a slow migration away from traditional biomass and a continued rise in total global energy demand. As renewable energy markets and industries mature, they increasingly face new and different challenges, as well as a wide range of opportunities. In 2013, renewables faced declining policy support and uncertainty in many European countries and the United States. Electric grid-related constraints, opposition in some countries from electric utilities concerned about rising competition, and continuing high global subsidies for fossil fuels were also issues. Overall—with some exceptions in Europe and the United States—renewable energy developments were positive in 2013. Markets, manufacturing, and investment expanded further across the developing world, and it became increasingly evident that renewables are no longer dependent upon a small handful of countries. Aided by continuing technological advances, falling prices, and innovations in financing—all driven largely by policy support—renewables have become increasingly affordable for a broader range of consumers worldwide. In a rising number of countries, renewable energy is considered crucial for meeting current and future energy needs. As markets have become more global, renewable energy industries have responded by increasing their flexibility, diversifying their products, and developing global supply chains. Several industries had a difficult year, with consolidation continuing, particularly for solar energy and wind power. But the picture brightened by the end of 2013, with many solar photovoltaics (PV) and wind turbine manufacturers returning to profitability. The most significant growth occurred in the power sector, with global capacity exceeding 1,560 gigawatts (GW), up more than 8% over 2012. Hydropower rose by 4% to approximately 1,000 GW, and other renewables collectively grew nearly 17% to more than 560 GW. For the first time, the world added more solar PV than wind power capacity; solar PV and hydropower were essentially tied, each accounting for about one-third of new capacity. Solar PV has continued to expand at a rapid rate, with growth in global capacity averaging almost 55% annually over the past five years. Wind power has added the most capacity of all renewable technologies over the same period. In 2013, renewables accounted for more than 56% of net additions to global power capacity and represented far higher shares of capacity added in several countries.

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