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REN21 Status Report Indicates Strong Continued Growth in Renewables

REN2111 June 2012: The Renewable Energy Global Policy Network for the 21st Century (REN21) has published the latest edition of its flagship publication, the “Renewables 2012 Global Status Report” (GSR), which illustrates continued growth in all types of renewables across sectors and countries, including via an update of REN21's interactive online map.

The report features chapters that: provide an overview the global market and industry; break down market and industry trends by technology; look at investment flows; analyze policy landscapes; investigate progress in rural renewables; and explore the linkages between renewable energy and energy efficiency in a special section. The report's overarching finding is that renewable energies continue to grow strongly, with global investments in renewables breaking records in 2011 as costs continue to fall and their deployment expands geographically. The GSR notes that with global energy consumption set to grow considerably in the coming decades, major investments in renewable energy will be needed to meet rising demand while mitigating climate change.

Specific key findings include that, in 2011: renewable energy accounted for 16.7% of final global energy consumption (with modern renewables increasing and traditional biomass declining slightly); 118 countries had renewable energy targets, over half of which are developing countries; investment in renewables increased 17% to US $257 billion (six times the amount in 2004) despite continuing financial difficulties in Europe; and equipment prices dropped - solar photovoltaic module prices dropped by 50% and onshore wind turbines by nearly 10% in 2011. With these shifts, the GSR declares that renewables are no longer a niche and are very close to grid parity with fossil fuel sources such as coal and gas.

On its special focus chapter on rural renewable energy, the report notes that improved business and financing models are now offering cleaner and more affordable energy options for the 1.3 billion energy poor, but that annual investment in decentralized, off-grid energy production will have to increase five-fold for universal modern energy access to be achieved by 2030.

Finally, the REN21's Renewables Interactive Map has been updated with the information contained in the 2012 GSR, illustrating country-specific renewable energy policies, targets, shares of total production, installed capacity, energy production and economic information. REN21 has also created a Renewables Interactive Map Widget to be placed on any website, which provides a quick way to search REN21's interactive map.

The GSR was launched in tandem with its sister publication, the UN Environmental Programme's (UNEP) Global Trends in Renewable Energy Investment (GTR). [REN21 Press Release] [Publication: Renewables 2012 Global Status Report] [Publication: Renewables 2012 Global Status Report Key Findings] [REN21 Renewables Interactive Map] [IISD RS Summary of UNEP Global Trends in Renewable Energy Investment 2012 Report]