New Clean Energy Publications

Three new publications were launched in mid June 2013: REN21’s Renewables 2013 Global Status Report and Frankfurt School – UNEP/BNEF’s Global Trends in Renewable Energy Investment 2013, as well as the World Energy Outlook 2013 Special Report: Redrawing the Energy-Climate Map.

The sister publications, REN21’s Renewables 2013 Global Status Report and Frankfurt School – UNEP/BNEF’s Global Trends in Renewable Energy Investment 2013 were launched on 12 June 2013. These publications provide a comprehensive and timely overview of the renewable energy market, industry, investment and policy development worldwide:

Global demand for renewable energy continued its growth trend in 2011 and 2012, supplying an estimated 19% of global final energy consumption in 2011, with a little less than half from traditional biomass.

With 115 GW of new renewables installed worldwide, 2012 was another record year in terms of power generation capacity. The Renewables 2013 Global Status Report shows that suitable policies can drive the successful integration of larger shares of renewables in the energy mix. The global map is changing: 138 countries have put renewable energy targets and frameworks in place, two-thirds of which are in the developing world. The geographical distribution of renewables is widening as well, particularly in developing countries.

Installed renewable capacity continued to rise with the significant reduction of technology costs and stronger investment in developing countries. Total global renewable power capacity ecxeeded 1,470 GW in 2012 (+8.5% compared to 2011). Wind power accounted for about 39% of renewable power capacity added, followed by hydropower and solar (about 26% each).

A shift in investment patterns led to a global decrease in clean energy investment in 2012 (-12% compared to the previous year, which was largely due to dramatically lower solar prices and weakened US and EU markets), but with $244 billion it was still the second highest year ever for renewable energy investments. Investments in developing countries topped $ 112 billion (compared to $132 billion in developed countries), which is encouraging in view of the objectives oft he UN Secretary General’s Sustainable Energy for All initiative: universal access to modern energy services and a doubling of both the global rate of improvement in energy efficiency and the share of renewable energy in the global energy mix by 2030. Renewables are picking up speed across Asia, Latin America, the Middle East and Africa, with investments in all technologies. Especially the Middle East and Africa showed the highest regional growth with investment of $12 billion (+228% ) in 2012.

China has become the world’s dominant player in renewable energy investment ($67 billion in 2012), largely thanks to a jump in solar investment. Steep increases in investment were also seen in other emerging economies, including South Africa, Morocco, Mexico, Chile and Kenya.


Redrawing the Energy-Climate Map - World Energy Outlook Special Report

As the single largest source of climate-changing greenhouse-gas emissions, the energy sector makes a significant contribution to climate change. Despite the global understanding that the world needs to limit the global mean temperature increase to 2°C and ongoing international climate change negotiations, there are worrying signs that climate change has slipped down the policy agenda. Any new climate change agreement will not emerge before 2015 and new legal obligations will not begin before 2020.

The WEO 2013 Special Report seeks to bring the energy-climate change link back on top of the political agenda by showing that the dilemma can be tackled at no net economic cost.

The Special Report

  • Maps out the current status and expectations of global climate and energy policy – what is happening and what (more) is needed? 
  • Sets out 4 specific measures for the energy sector that can be quickly and effectively implemented, at no net economic cost, to help keep the 2 °C target alive while international negotiations continue. 
  • Indicates elements of action to achieve further reductions after 2020. 
  • Demonstrates that the energy sector, in its own interest, needs to address now the risks implicit in climate change – whether they be the physical impacts of climate change or the consequences of more drastic action later by governments as the need to curb emissions becomes imperative.


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