Renewables had very good 2015, that is the message from the REN21 global renewables status report. The report has an extraordinary range of facts and I will attempt to pull out both the main ones and some surprising ones.
Unsurprising ones first.
- Solar PV capacity soared by 50GWp or 25% in 2015.
- Wind capacity grow by over 17%. Very little of this was offshore.
- Both are now competitive at least in part with new build gas/coal without subsidy.
- For the first time renewables investment in developing countries exceeded non-renewable investment.
- Renewables investment was twice the amount spent on gas and coal power together.
All other types of renewables investment were very low figures so these technologies dominate.
Did you know?
- China has more Solar hot collector investment than the US and is first in the world for this technology. Brazil is 5th.
- That 110 countries have a feed in tariff.
- That 21 countries have a renewable heat incentive.
- 148 countries have some kind of energy efficiency target.
- 22 countries had enough PV capacity to meet more than 1% of their electricity demand.
- Costa Rica met 99% of its electricity demands via renewable energy.
- In the developing world distributed renewable energy is continuing to flourish. With both clean cooking stoves and small PV systems being rolled out with several thousand mini grids in operation in countries such as Bangladesh.
- Battery costs (lithium EV) fell 35% between mid 2014 and 2015.
Challenges remain. Renewable heat as we wrote in our book is a major challenge and a lot of the use of biomass in the developing world is non-sustainable biomass. Renewable electricity is still dominated by hydropower and wind and solar have some way to go to catch up. Ocean energy is still stalled as the renewable alternatives such as wind and solar are cheaper. Nevertheless the renewable revolution is now unstoppable.