Highlight leaders who are embracing renewable energy solutions using ambitious policies and incentives, or business models, to harness the potential of renewable energy as we look to a decarbonized future and to achieving the SEforALL objectives.
The SEforALL objective to double the share of renewable energy in the global energy mix by 2030 equates to 36% of total final energy consumption (TFEC). As of 2014, only 18.3% of TFEC is being supplied by renewable energy. While progress on the renewable energy share appears slow, it’s not for a lack of growth in renewable energy, but rather due to continued growth in TFEC. The renewable energy share only can increase when renewable energy grows faster than TFEC. This means that to achieve our goal, not only do we need to increase our rate of progress, but we must also lower TFEC.
Over 2012-14, 13 out of the top 20 energy consuming countries – defined as high impact countries - improved their share of Renewable Energy in TFEC, primarily driven by accelerating modern renewables (derived from hydropower, processed forms of bioenergy (solid, gaseous and liquid), the wind, sun, geothermal and marine sources, and biogenic waste). Recent growth in renewables has been concentrated in the power sector, and thus renewables account for 22.3% of power generation. However, electricity only makes up 20% of total final energy consumption. The remaining 80% of total final energy consumption is for heat and transport applications (50% and 30%, respectively), where the share of renewables has been lagging and has proved more challenging to increase.
Investment increased significantly in renewable energy when fossil fuel prices plummeted. Significant renewable energy auctions were held in 64 countries in 2015 (particularly in LAC) with some policy leapfrogging and large price reductions. Feed-in-tariffs (FiTs) are being considered for phase out in several countries for utility scale plants with emerging successes in tenders and auctions.
The LAC region has the highest share of its energy coming from renewable sources than any other region in the world. This reflects the strong natural endowment of biomass and hydropower, which have long been harnessed by the continent, as well as Brazil’s pioneering role in developing biofuels. However, in the recent Regulatory Indicators for Sustainable Energy (RISE) report, Brazil and Mexico are two of the only countries in the region to have strong policy programs that scale-up new renewable technologies, such as wind and solar. Increased activity in promoting renewables has also recently been seen in Argentina, Chile and Peru – however more can and must be done.
As discussed in the 2016 World Energy Outlook, a transformation of power market design, one that integrates renewables, efficiency and expanded energy access, requires structural changes to the design and operation of what we now think of as energy systems. These systemic changes will enable the integration of modern, sustainable and affordable energy for all, and lead to the future “business as usual” case for energy planning and provision.