- Progress in renewables remains concentrated in the power sector, while far less growth has occurred in heating, cooling and transport.
- Uptake of renewables in heating and cooling remains slow due to a lack of policy support.
- Renewable energy penetration in the transport sector remains low. Although biofuels dominate the renewables contribution, the market for EVs is growing significantly.
- Renewable energy is expanding in the power sector, with 181 GW newly installed in 2018. However, the rate of new capacity additions levelled off, following years of growth.
- Policy frameworks are still far from the ambition level required to reach international goals. Targets are increasingly ambitious for power, but those for heating, cooling and transport lag behind.
- Policy coverage for renewables and energy efficiency in buildings and industry is far from global. The number of countries with heating and cooling mandates fell in 2018.
- Biofuels are a central component of policy frameworks, although no new countries added mandates in 2018. Direct policy support linking EVs to renewables remains limited.
- The use of auctions is spreading to an increasing number of countries, but FIT policies and other incentives are still important for advancing renewable power.
- Policy makers are expanding support to further integrate VRE, while encouraging sector integration and deployment of enabling technologies.
- Carbon pricing policies can stimulate interest in renewables to meet climate goals. Although such policies are expanding, they currently cover just 13% of global emissions.
Market and Industry Trends
- Modern bioenergy is the largest contributor to the global renewable energy supply.
- Geothermal energy is growing only gradually, and most power capacity is being added in only two countries.
- Hydropower is characterised by market stability, rising industry competition and a growing demand for energy storage.
- Certain technologies appear close to commercialisation, but consistent support policies and revenue guarantees remain critical.
- Solar PV had another strong year for new additions, boosted by growth in emerging markets.
- New CSP additions are being installed exclusively in emerging markets, while significant new capacity is in the pipeline.
- Despite a decline in global installations, key markets are growing again, and additions of large-scale systems more than doubled during the year.
- Wind power is characterised by stable installations, falling prices in a competitive industry and growing interest in offshore wind power, following successes in Europe.
Distributed Renewables for Energy Access
- DREA systems continue to play an important role in providing access to modern energy services to households in remote areas of developing and emerging economies.
- Global investment fell, driven by a sharp decline in China. For the fourth year running, investment in developing and emerging countries exceeded that of developed countries.
Energy Systems Integration and Enabling Technologies
- Strong growth in VRE is being managed in power systems around the world, while markets for energy storage, heat pumps and EVs expanded further.
- Global energy intensity continues to fall, and an integrated approach for renewables and energy efficiency remains crucial.
Feature: Renewables in Cities
- Cities are taking a leading role in advancing renewable energy through their efforts to achieve a wide range of interlinked environmental, economic and social goals.