- Positive developments show that the renewable energy transition is possible, but advances so far are uneven across sectors.
- There is slow progress in renewable energy uptake in heating and cooling.
- Renewable energy progress in the transport sector remains slow. Biofuels provide most of the current renewable energy contribution, although electrification is gaining attention.
- The electricity transition is well under way, due mostly to increases in installed capacity and in the cost-competitiveness of solar PV and wind power.
Renewable energy policies and targets remain focused on the power sector, with support for heating and cooling and transport still lagging.
Policies aligning renewables and energy efficiency are common in the buildings sector, but not in industry.
Cities lead in “greening” public transport fleets, but policy attention is lacking for rail, aviation and shipping.
Use of tendering continues to spread, yet feed-in policies remain vital in support schemes for renewables.
New cross-sectoral integrated policies are emerging to support integration of variable renewables.
Market and Industry Trends
- Modern use of bioenergy for heating is growing slowly due to a lack of policy attention and to low fossil fuel prices.
- Technology innovation is addressing sector-specific challenges in the geothermal industry.
- Hydropower industry prioritises sustainability, modernisation and digitalisation of facilities.
- Industry’s optimism and development efforts bring ocean energy closer to commercialisation.
- New solar PV installations surpassed net additions of fossil fuels and nuclear power combined.
- CSP plants with thermal energy storage emerge as a viable competitor to fossil fuel thermal power plants.
- Solar heat for industrial processes had a record year, and use in district energy systems advanced.
- Prices fell rapidly for both onshore and offshore wind power, and the offshore sector had its best year yet.
Distributed Renewables for Energy Access
- Distributed renewables for energy access (DREA) systems are increasingly being considered as a solution to achieve energy access goals.
- Global investment in renewables increased even as costs continued to fall, and developing and emerging countries extended their lead over developed countries.
Energy Systems Integration and Enabling Technologies
- Energy systems are adapting to rising shares of renewable energy.
- The importance of energy efficiency is increasingly recognised internationally, while global energy intensity continues to fall.
Feature: Corporate Sourcing of Renewable Energy
Corporate sourcing of renewable energy continued to increase and spread to new regions.