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REN21 10 Years Report

6 Ten years ago, deployment and manufacturing of renewable energy were concentrated in Europe, the United States, and Japan. Their early lead in the renewable energy global markets paved the way for technology advances and market expansion through early investment in technology and in policy design. Since then, markets, manufacturing, and investment have expanded to other regions. China has become the world leader in renewables manufacturing and installed capacity, having increased investment in the sector nearly every year over the past decade. Increasing amounts of money are now flowing to developing and emerging countries across Africa, Asia, Latin America, and the Middle East, in response to rapid growth in energy demand and a growing interest in renewables. Foreign direct investment in renewable energy and the mobilisation of private capital in emerging economies have also contributed to growth cross both technologies and regions. Over the past decade, the share of people who lack access to modern energy services has fallen by nearly 10 percentage points, down from almost 25%, even as the global population has expanded significantly. Renewables have played a role in this improvement. However, these advances are not evenly spread geographically; large areas of Africa are still without access to modern energy services. Renewables are uniquely positioned to provide needed energy services in a sustainable manner, more rapidly and generally at lower cost than their alternatives. The Evolving Policy Landscape The global policy landscape has largely driven the expansion of renewable energy technologies by attracting investment and creating markets that have brought about economies of scale and supported technology advances, in turn, resulting in decreasing costs and fuelling sustained growth in the sector. A handful of countries—particularly Germany, Denmark, the US and Spain—have led the way, developing innovative policies that have driven much of the change witnessed over the past decade. Today, Germany’s commitment to the “Energiewende”—the transition to a sustainable economy based on renewable energy and energy efficiency—as well as Denmark’s commitment to 100% renewable energy by 2050, are inspiring other countries around the globe to aim for a renewable energy future. Since 2004, the number of countries promoting renewable energy with direct policy support has nearly tripled, from 48 to over 140, and an ever-increasing number of developing and emerging countries are setting renewable energy targets and enacting support policies. Policy targets have become increas- ingly ambitious, and their focus is expanding beyond electricity to include heating, cooling, and transport. In parallel, policy mechanisms have continued to evolve. These include the use of policy instruments differentiated by techno- logy, as well as the evolution of feed-in policies for premium payments and for use in the heating sector. Globally, renewable energy targets together with feed-in tariffs have had the biggest impact on renewable energy market introduction. Feed-in poli- cies now exist on every continent. In numerous countries, and particularly in Europe, variable renewables have achieved high shares of penetration in the electricity sector. Given that existing power systems, to date, have not been not designed to cope with variable energy sources renewables policy mechanisms that focus on market design are emerging to balance and increase system flexibility, as well as financial compensation for these services. Policies are also starting to address the need for expanded and improved grid infrastructure, and increasingly include new tools and technologies to support renewables, such as energy storage and smart grids. Regulations that focus on mandatory grid- connection and priority dispatch are becoming progressively important. Policies that encourage local value creation have also appeared in many countries. The past decade has also witnessed profound change at the local level. Ten years ago, the majority of local governments did not consider the potential role for renewables in their energy supply. Over the past decade, many of them have become leaders in advancing renewable energy, particularly in combination with energy efficiency improvements. Many municipalities regularly exceed efforts of state, provincial and national governments.

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