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GSR 2015

27 01 RENEWABLES 2015 GLOBAL STATUS REPORT 01 GLOBAL OVERVIEW Renewable energy continued to grow in 2014 against the backdrop of increasing global energy consumption and a dramatic decline in oil prices during the second half of the year.1 Global final energy consumption has increased by about 1.5% annually in recent years, driven primarily by rising demand in developing countries.2 Despite rising energy use, for the first time in four decades, global carbon emissions associated with energy consumption remained stable in 2014 while the global economy grew.3 Whereas previous emissions decreases were associated with downturns in the global economy, the carbon stabilisation in 2014 has been attributed to increased penetration of renewable energy and improvements in energy efficiency.4 Looking ahead, several countries—including China, Mexico, and the United States—as well as the European Union have announced climate change commitments that set the stage for future investment in renewables and energy efficiency.5 There is rising awareness worldwide that renewable energy and energy efficiency are critical not only for addressing climate change, but also for creating new economic opportunities, and for providing energy access to the billions of people still living without modern energy services.i Renewables are vital elements of rural electrification programmes in many countries, and dozens of international actors were involved in advancing energy access through renewables during 2014.6 In recognition of the importance of renewable energy and energy efficiency for sustainable development, the United Nations General Assembly declared 2014 the first year of a Decade of Sustainable Energy for Allii (SE4ALL).7 SE4ALL aims to double the share of renewable energy in the global energy mix from a baseline share of 18% in 2010 to 36% in 2030.8 By 2013, the most recent year for which data are available, renewable energy provided an estimated 19.1% of global final energy consumption. Of this total share, traditional biomass, used primarily for cooking and heating in remote and rural areas of developing countries, accounted for about 9%, and modern renewables increased their share slightly over 2012 to approximately 10.1%.9 (p See Figure 1.) Modern renewable energy is being used increasingly in four distinct markets: power generation, heating and cooling, transport, and rural/off-grid energy services. (p See Distributed Renewable Energy section.) In 2013, hydropower accounted for an estimated 3.9% of final energy consumption; other renewable power sources comprised 1.3%; renewable heat energy accounted for approximately 4.1%; and transport biofuels provided about 0.8%.10 Figure 1. Estimated Renewable Energy Share of Global Final Energy Consumption, 2013 Nuclear power 2.6% 78.3% Fossil fuels 19.1% All renewables 9% Traditional biomass Figure 1. Estimated Renewable Energy Share of Global Final Energy Consumption, 2013 10.1% Modern renewables Wind/solar/ biomass/ geothermal power Biofuels 3.9% Hydropower 4.1% Biomass/ geothermal/ solar heat 1.3% 0.8% Source: See Endnote 9 for this section. i - An estimated 1.2 billion people worldwide lack access to electricity, and 2.8 billion people rely on traditional biomass for cooking and heating. See United Nations Sustainable Energy for All (SE4ALL), “United Nations Decade of Sustainable Energy for All 2014-2024,”, viewed 10 April 2015. ii - SE4ALL has three interlinked objectives: ensuring universal access to modern energy services, doubling the global rate of improvement in energy efficiency, and doubling the share of renewable energy in the global energy mix. See SE4ALL, “Our Objectives,”, viewed 10 April 2015.

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