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REN21 10 Years Report

34 n DEPLOYMENT OF RENEWABLES Over the past decade North America has become a leader in renewable power capacity, with the United States as number two in the global country ranking for capacity, including and exclud- ing hydropower and Canada ranking fourth for capacity including hydropower. In terms of renewable energy shares in electricity production, Canada leads the region and is among the top countries worldwide with 53% (2012). In comparison the United States only generated 13% of its electricity from renewables in 2012, up from 9.2% in 2006. Over the past decade, North America maintained its leadership position in the hydropower sector, though little new capacity was added in the last decade. The most significant developments were observed in the wind, solar PV, and bioenergy, notably the biofuel sector. The wind market in the United States was particularly strong throughout the decade, reaching 61.1GW in 2013 thanks to falling costs and policy drivers. Though the wind industry took a hit 2013, due mainly to policy uncertainty, more capacity was under construction in 2014 than ever before. North America also became the top producer and consumer of bio- ethanol with production increasing from 14 billion liters in 2004 to more than 50 billion liters in 2013. Over the past decade, the US overtook Brazil to become the top producer of bioethanol and took the lead from Europe in the production of biodiesel. Simultaneous growth in the biomass sector over the past decade has led to an increased production and use of biomass for heat and electricity production. Today the US is the top producer of bio power, while North America is ranked number one for wood pellet exports. In the United States, solar PV increased from 0.2GW to 12GW between 2005 and 2013 and in 2013 became the second larg- est source of new electricity generating capacity. Despite these gains in PV deployment, the solar PV manufacturing industry in North America took a hard hit towards the end of the last decade as competition from Asia started to increase and crowd out American and European companies. Other solar technolo- gies such as CSP and solar thermal heating and cooling (mostly unglazed systems for heating swimming pools) gained market penetration. CSP capacity has increased significantly over the past years, despite siting challenges and increasing competi- tion from solar PV. With installed CSP capacity having more than doubled, it is anticipated that the United States will become the top market for CSP in 2014. n MILESTONES OF THE PAST DECADE Over the past decade North America witnessed several impor- tant milestones of national and global significance. On a national level, the cost of wind power in the US declined by 43% between 2009 and 2013, making unsubsidised on-shore wind cost-com- petitive or nearly so with new coal- and gas-fired plants in some regions of the country. Wind power had a milestone year in 2010 with Canada becoming one of the top 10 countries for installed wind capacity. The region also saw the emergence of innovative yield-orientated finance mechanisms and crowd funding, which are influencing global investment in renewables. A landmark ruling of the World Trade Organisation over-turned the Local Content Requirement (LCR) of Ontario’s FIT. On a sub-national level, milestones were varied. Some highlights include Texas becoming the largest wind market in the United States and New Jersey developing a strong solar market based on a renewable energy certificate trading mechanism. California also celebrated the success of its Solar Initiative. The program is well on its way of reached its goal of installing 3.000MW of dis- tributed solar energy by 2016, making California the state with the highest level of distributed solar generation in the United States. n MAIN CHALLENGES FOR RENEWABLES Two main challenges for renewables in North America are policy and market share uncertainty and the resultant lack of invest- ment. The uncertainty surrounding the US tax incentive scheme has resulted in continual boom and bust cycles particularly in the domestic wind market. Further policy-related barriers include possible changes to net metering rules and state RPS programs, and barriers in siting and permitting for renewable energy proj- ects in some regions of the country. The recent exploitation of new oil and cheap shale gas reservoirs in the United States and Canada are challenging the deployment of renewables, and may divert investment away from renewables.

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