The Renewable Energy Policy Network for the 21st Century (REN21) has published the 2017 Global Status Report. The report, which is now in its 12th edition, is published annually and is a highly regarded source of information around the globe. It presents a comprehensive overview of the global state of installed capacity, progress on achieving national expansion targets, and the use of political instruments to promote the expansion of .
Around a quarter of global electricity generation comes from installations that use renewable energy. The installed capacity of renewables across the globe has risen over the past year by around 9 per cent, climbing to a total of 2,017 gigawatts (GW). This means that in 2016, more electricity generation capacity was installed in the form of renewables installations than in conventional power stations. In 2015, renewable energy covered almost 20 per cent of total global energy consumption.
State Secretary for Energy Rainer Baake said: “The Global Status Report shows quite impressively that it is now possible to expand renewable energy at very low prices, worldwide.”
The report also shows that the link between economic growth and carbon emissions has been broken: global carbon emissions have now remained stable for the third consecutive year, while world economic growth sits at three per cent. According to REN21, the expansion of renewables has been a decisive factor in this development as it has enabled growth while reducing carbon emissions. Across the world, almost 10 million people are now working in renewable energy.
When it comes to installed PV capacity for generating solar electricity, Germany has the highest tally per capita; as for many other technologies, other countries are more advanced. On the one hand, this is positive. More and more countries are now focusing on renewable energy and thus on higher sustainability, greater supply security, and increased independence from fluctuating prices for fossil fuels on the world market. Rising international demand for renewable energy and offers major opportunities, not least for German companies, who offer innovative products and services and are often world-market leaders in their field. However, the trend towards renewables also means that Germany needs to make greater efforts to expand and integrate renewable energy if it wants to remain a forerunner.