Renewables 2016 Global Status Report

01 global overview

Fetlar, Shetland Isles, United Kingdom
Created: 2013 | Members: 40-50 50 kW wind power capacity and charging stations for an electric minibus

Community energy for energy access and transportation
On the remote island of Fetlar, obtaining access to energy and fuel for transportation has been an ongoing challenge. Eager to reduce the costs of transporting and using imported fuel, residents brought the community-owned electric Fetlar Minibus to their island as a dial-a-ride service and installed three charging points. Since January 2016, two 25 kW wind turbines have been powering the minibus and providing power and heat to the local school and nursery.

The year 2015 was an extraordinary one for renewable energy, with the largest global capacity additions seen to date, although challenges remain, particularly beyond the power sector. The year saw several developments that all have a bearing on renewable energy, including a dramatic decline in global fossil fuel prices; a series of announcements regarding the lowest-ever prices for renewable power long-term contracts; a significant increase in attention to energy storage; and a historic climate agreement in Paris that brought together the global community.1

Renewables now are established around the world as mainstream sources of energy.2 Rapid growth, particularly in the power sector, is driven by several factors including the improving cost-com­petitiveness of renewable technologies, dedicated policy initiatives, better access to financing, concerns about energy security and the environment, growing demand for energy in developing and emerging economies, and the need for access to modern energy.3

The year 2015 was one of firsts as well as of high-profile agreements and announcements related to renewable energy, including:

  • In their Declaration on Climate Change, the G7 countries committed to strive “for a transformation of the energy sectors by 2050” and to “accelerate access to renewable energy in Africa and developing countries in other regions.”4

  • Renewables were on the G20i agenda for the first-ever G20 Energy Ministers meeting, where the high-level participants affirmed their commitment to renewable energy and energy efficiency.5 The Ministers endorsed an 11-point Communiqué that included the adoption of a toolkit for a long-term sustainable and integrated approach to renewable energy deployment; the Communiqué was adopted by the full G20 summit in November.6 Participants also agreed on a G20 Energy Access Action Plan for sub-Saharan Africa that highlights the huge renewable energy resources in the region and the importance of improving energy efficiency.7

  • The United Nations (UN) General Assembly adopted 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) containing, for the first time, a dedicated goal on sustainable energy for allii.8 This achievement was due in great part to the Sustainable Energy for All (SE4All) initiativeiii, which played a strong role in the SDG debate. Throughout 2015, SE4All continued its work to further global efforts to increase energy access and to implement the new SDG, working with numerous countries to develop pathways to promote its goals.9

  • Twenty-five worldwide business networks representing more than 6.5 million companies from over 130 countries pledged in May to lead the global transition to a low-carbon, climate-resilient economy.10 Late in the year, 409 investors representing more than USD 24 trillion in assets called on governments to provide stable, reliable and economically meaningful carbon pricing, to strengthen regulatory support for renewables and energy efficiency, and to develop plans to phase out fossil fuel subsidies.11

  • A series of religious declarations released throughout the year – including the Pope’s environmental encyclical, Laudato Si’, as well as the Islamic, Hindu and Buddhist declarations on climate change – called on billions of people of faith to address climate change and to commit to a zero- or low-carbon future through renewable energy.12

The year’s events culminated in December at the UN Climate Change Conference (COP21iv) in Paris, where 195 countries agreed to limit global warming to well below 2 degrees Celsius and a majority of countries committed to scaling up renewables and energy efficiency through their Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs).13 (See Sidebar 4 in Policy Landscape chapter.) Although far more is needed to avoid the worst potential effects of climate change, there was a clear commitment from the global community to address the challenge, and many experts emerged with a sense that there is a strong international consensus to transition away from fossil fuels.14

Notable commitments included a US-China Joint Presidential Statement on Climate Change highlighting new domestic policy commitments involving renewables and energy efficiency, and a common vision for an ambitious global climate agreement in Paris.15 The European Union (EU) committed to a binding regional target of at least 40% domestic reduction of greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 (from a 1990 baseline), complemented by renewable energy and energy efficiency targets.16 The International Solar Alliance was launched by the presidents of France and India to unite more than 120 sun-drenched countries to accelerate solar energy deployment in order to enhance energy security and sustainable development, improve access to energy and advance living standards.17In parallel, precedent-setting, ambitious commitments to renewable energy were made at the regional, state and local levels in the lead-up to and during COP21 in Paris.18 Heads of state of African nations launched the African Renewable Energy Initiative with the goal of achieving by 2030 as much as 300 gigawatts (GW) of renewable capacity (about twice the continent’s total power capacity at end-2015).19 The leaders of the Climate Vulnerable Forum, a broad global coalition of 30 nations (middle-income and least-developed nations, and small-island developing states), called for 100% renewable energy by 2050 in the Manila-Paris Declaration.20

i The UN-supported Group of 20 includes the world’s 20 leading economies (19 individual countries plus the EU), which together account for more than 75%
of global trade. The G20 was formed in 1999 to study, review and promote high-level discussion on policy issues relating to international financial stability.

ii SDG 7: “Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all” by 2030. This SDG (7.2) calls for increasing substantially the share
of renewable energy in the energy mix and for doubling the global rate of improvement in energy efficiency. See

iii 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. SE4All, “Tracking Progress,”

iv The 21st annual session of the Conference of the Parties (COP) to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

The growing global movement for 100% renewables – driven by the imperative of addressing climate change, and the pursuit of local economic development and community-owned energy – also gained momentum from the Paris City Hall Declaration, which calls for 100% renewable energy or 80% reductions in greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. Nearly 1,000 city mayors from five continents signed the Declaration. 21 Cities around the world have become important change makers in the renewable energy and climate arena, acting independently and collectively to share knowledge and achieve their goals.22 (See Policy Landscape chapter.)

The private sector also strengthened its commitments to renewable energy in 2015.23 As of December, 2,025 companies had publicly pledged to reduce their carbon emissions, many through the use of renewable energy and energy efficiency; this group includes 154 US companies, with nearly 11 million employees, that have committed to purchasing 100% renewable energy.24 By year’s end, more than 50 of the world’s largest companies were participating in RE100, a global business initiative in which companies commit to getting 100% of their electricity from renewable sources.25 Many companies are moving beyond the motivation of social responsibility to the view that renewables make good business sense.26

Although most of the initiatives announced in Paris and elsewhere did not start to affect renewable energy markets in 2015, there were already signs that a global energy transition is under way.27 By some accounts, the annual growth in global carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions stalled during 2014 and 2015, even as the global economy grew, due to industrial restructuring, improvements in energy efficiency and increased global deployment of renewable energy.28 Further, per capita greenhouse gas emissions appear to be falling in 11 of the G20 economies, marking a possible shift in global trends.29 Nonetheless, atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases continue to rise, due largely to increasing use of fossil fuels, and annual emissions are expected to continue climbing for some time in the developing world.30

As of 2014, renewable energy provided an estimated 19.2% 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 8.9%, and modern renewables (not including traditional biomass) increased their share slightly over 2013 to approximately 10.3%.31 (See Figure 1.) In 2014, hydropower accounted for an estimated 3.9% of final energy consumption, other renewable power sources comprised 1.4%, renewable heat energy accounted for approximately 4.2% and transport biofuels provided about 0.8%.32Although the use of renewable energy is rising rapidly, the share of renewables in total final energy consumption is not growing as quickly. In developed countries, energy demand growth is slow, and displacing the large stock of existing infrastructure and fuels takes time. In developing countries, energy demand growth is rapid, and fossil fuels play a significant part in meeting this rising demand. In addition, the shift away from traditional biomass for heating and cooking to modern, more-efficient renewables and fossil fuels, while in general a very positive transition, reduces overall renewable energy shares.33 These “two worlds” into which modern renewables are making inroads present different political and policy challenges, economic structures, financial needs and availability, and other factors that delay or advance renewable energy deployment.34

Figure 1. Estimated Renewable Energy Share of Global Final Energy Consumption, 2014

Government policy continued to play an important role in renewable energy developments. The number of countries with renewable energy targets and support policies increased again in 2015, and several jurisdictions made their existing targets more ambitious. (See Policy Landscape chapter.) However, in some markets, policy changes and uncertainties (such as unexpected or retroactive changes, new taxes on renewable generators and uncertainties around the US federal Production Tax Credit for most of the year) undermined investor confidence and held up investment and deployment.35 Despite the important contribution of the heating and transport sectors to energy demand and global emissions – together these sectors account for about two-thirds of final energy consumption and more than half of global greenhouse gas emissions – policy makers have focused predominantly on the power sector, a trend that has helped to shape the current landscape.36

Even in the face of ongoing fossil fuel subsidies and tumbling prices in 2015, renewable energy continued its rapid growth in both capacity added and energy produced. The power sector experienced the greatest increases in capacity, whereas growth of renewables in the heating and cooling and transport sectors was comparatively slow.37 Solar photovoltaics (PV) and wind were the most dynamic markets, and hydropower continued to provide the majority of renewable power capacity and generation. Bioenergy remained the leader by far in the heat (buildings and industry) and transport sectors.38

Growth rates for various renewable energy technologies reflect a number of factors, including falling renewable energy technology costs and increasing competition for policy support and investment among different renewable technologies.39 Low fossil fuel prices also affected growth rates, causing turbulence in some markets, particularly for renewable heating and cooling; biofuels were sheltered in many locations where mandates exist, although the low oil prices affected the appetite for new investment.40 (See Figure 2 and Reference Table R1.)

Figure 2. Average Annual Growth Rates of Renewable Energy Capacity and Biofuels Production, End-2010 to End-2015

Global oil prices plummeted more than 70% between June 2014 and January 2016, due to oversupply and slowdown in economic growth in China and Europe.41 Coal and natural gas prices were down as well.42 While these trends affected markets for some renewables, they also highlighted the improving cost-competitiveness of solar and wind power.43 Further, these trends reinforced concerns about the volatility of fossil fuel prices.44

The dramatic rise in global coal consumption that occurred over the past decade, due largely to China, appears to be slowing somewhat.45 China’s government announced plans to close more mines and to reduce coal’s share of the energy mix in 2016, due in part to a virtual flat-lining in electricity demand; however, some countries – particularly in Asia – still have big plans for coal.46 Other countries and regions have introduced regulations that could constrain coal use (e.g., the US Clean Power Plan), have announced plans to phase it out (including Austria, Finland, Portugal and the United Kingdom) or have already achieved phase-out targets (e.g., Ontario, Canada and Scotland).47 In 2015, the United States (the world’s second largest coal consumer after China) saw the acceleration of a downward trend in coal consumption.48

Low oil prices facilitated reductions in subsidies, but globally fossil fuel subsidies remained substantial – estimated at over USD 490 billion (compared with USD 135 billion for renewables) in 2014 – and continued to temper renewable energy growth.49 Other challenges faced by renewables in 2015 included the integration of rising shares of renewable generation, policy and political instability, regulatory barriers and fiscal constraints.50 (See, for example, Sidebar 1.) In Europe, markets have slowed due in part to relatively high penetrations of renewables and to challenges related to their integration, but also to the ongoing shift in support policies that began during the financial crisis.51 Elsewhere, national energy monopolies lack awareness of renewables or demonstrate resistance to their adoption, and in many economies concerns remain about how to integrate variable renewable generation.52 In addition, in many developing countries, policy and political instability combined with corruption have made it difficult to access financing (particularly for energy access projects), which slows advances despite extensive renewable resources and positive technology developments.53Even so, markets continued their geographic spread, further establishing renewable energy as a mainstream energy source worldwide.54 Although Europe remained an important regional market and a centre for innovation, activity continued to shift towards other regions. China again led the world in new renewable power capacity installations.55 Many other countries – including Brazil, Chile, India, Mexico, Morocco and South Africa – accelerated their efforts in 2015, and the number of developing countries across Asia, Africa and Latin America that were manufacturing and deploying renewable technologies continued to expand.56

Employment and investment during 2015 followed the market expansion into new countries. The number of jobs in renewable energy rose again during 2015, reaching an estimated 8.1 direct and indirect jobs worldwide, plus an estimated 1.3 million direct jobs associated with large-scale hydropower.57 (See Sidebar 2.)

Global investment climbed to a new record level. This occurred in spite of the plunge in fossil fuel prices, the strength of the US dollar (which reduced the dollar value of non-dollar investments), the continued weakness of the European economy and further declines in per unit costs of wind power and solar PV.58 For the sixth consecutive year, renewables outpaced fossil fuels for net investment in power capacity additions.59 However, the increase in investment was due entirely to increases in solar and wind power; investment in all other renewable power technologies, as well as biofuels, declined relative to 2014.60

Private investors stepped up their commitments to renewable energy significantly during 2015, and an increasing number of investors opted to divest from fossil fuels.61 Some in the financial community backed away from coal due to its perceived high risk, and focused on clean energy.62 The year witnessed both an increase in the number of large banks active in the renewables sector and an increase in loan size, with major new commitments from international investment firms to renewables and energy efficiency.63

New investment vehicles – including green bonds, crowdfunding and yieldcos – expanded during the year. Although their levels remained relatively small, green bonds supporting renewable energy (as well as energy efficiency) grew many-fold from 2012 to 2015 and have helped to address a major challenge for renewable energy financing: lack of liquidity.64 Funding for emerging markets increased with the creation of innovative financial instruments for the African market and with the increase in financing of companies selling distributed energy products in Africa and India.65 (See Distributed Renewable Energy chapter.) Mainstream financing and securitisation structures also continued to move into developing country markets as companies (particularly solar PV) and investors sought higher yield, even at the expense of higher risk.66

For the first time, developing countries, including China, were ahead of developed countries for total investment in renewable energy. Several developing countries saw substantial increases, due at least in part to rapidly expanding markets driven by falling solar and wind power technology costs, whereas developed countries as a group saw an 8% decline in investment. China alone accounted for more than one-third of the global totalii and was the first country to break the USD 100 billion threshold.67 By dollars spent, the leading countries for investment were China, the United States, Japan, the United Kingdom, India, Germany, Brazil, South Africa, Mexico and Chile.68 Considering investments made in new renewable power and fuels relative to annual GDP, top countries included Mauritania, Honduras, Uruguay, Morocco and Jamaica.69 Among the leading countries for investment per inhabitant were Iceland, the United Kingdom, Uruguay, Japan and Ireland.70 (See Investment Flows chapter.)

In parallel with growth in renewable energy markets and investments, 2015 saw continued advances in renewable energy technologies, including improvements in materials and efficiency of solar cells and modules, floating wind turbines, large-scale solar thermal district heating and cooling, and progress in pyrolysis and gasification of biomass. Ongoing energy efficiency advances, such as more-efficient lighting systems, are reducing the cost of providing energy services with renewable energy, whether on-grid or off-grid. 71 (→See Distributed Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency chapters.)

i International Energy Agency (IEA) estimates include subsidies to fossil fuels consumed by end-users and subsidies to consumption of electricity generated by fossil fuels. IEA, World Energy Outlook 2015 (Paris: 2015), p. 96,

ii Note that this estimate does not include investment in hydropower projects >50 MW, which ranked third, behind solar and wind power, for total investment in 2015. See Frankfurt School–UNEP Collaborating Centre for Climate & Sustainable Energy Finance and Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF), Global Trends in Renewable Energy Investment 2016 (Frankfurt: March 2016), China was responsible for a large share of new large-scale hydropower capacity in 2015. (See Hydropower section.)

The year also brought advances in enabling technologies, such as hardware and software to support the integration of renewable energy. These included management systems that aim to optimise performance and energy storage.72 The past few years have brought significant progress in the development and commercialisation of energy storage, driven largely by the growth in electric vehicle (EV) markets and in renewables (mainly solar and wind power). Development continued during 2015 in areas such as thermal storage for heating and refrigeration, and particularly for concentrating solar thermal power (CSP); conversion of electricity to heat or gas; compressed air; and batteries for EV propulsion and electricity storage.73

Batteries – including lithium-ion, graphene polymer and redox flow batteries – have been the main focus of investor and industry interest in storage.74 Although cost remains a barrier to large-scale deployment, battery costs fell rapidly during 2010–2014, and their decline accelerated in 2015. For example, average costs for EV (lithium-ion) batteries fell 35% between the second half of 2014 and the second half of 2015.75

Modern renewable energy is being used increasingly in power generation, heating and cooling, and transport. The following sections discuss 2015 developments and trends in these sectors. For discussion of off-grid renewables for providing energy access in developing countries, see the Distributed Renewable Energy chapter.

Power Sector

Renewable power generating capacity saw its largest annual increase ever in 2015, with an estimated 147 GW of renewable capacity added. Total global capacity was up almost 9% over 2014, to an estimated 1,849 GW at year’s end.76 Wind and solar PV both saw record additions for the second consecutive year, together making up about 77% of all renewable power capacity added in 2015.77 Hydropower capacity rose by 2.7% to an estimated 1,064 GW, accounting for approximately 19% of additions.78 (See Reference Table R1.)

The world now adds more renewable power capacity annually than it adds (net) capacity from all fossil fuels combined.79 In 2015, renewables accounted for an estimated more than 60% of net additions to global power generating capacity, and for far higher shares of capacity added in several countries around the world.80 By year’s end, renewables comprised an estimated 28.9% of the world’s power generating capacity – enough to supply an estimated 23.7% of global electricity, with hydropower providing about 16.6%.81 (See Figure 3.)

Figure 3. Estimated Renewable Energy Share of Global Electricity Production, End–2015

Technological advances, expansion into new markets with better resources, and improved financing conditions have reduced costs, particularly for wind and solar PV.82 (See Sidebar 3.) Electricity from hydro, geothermal and some biomass power sources have been broadly competitive with fossil power for some time; in favourable circumstances (i.e., good resources and a secure regulatory framework), onshore wind and solar PV also are cost-competitive with new fossil capacity, even without accounting for externalities.83 For example, wind power was the most cost-effective option for new grid-based power in 2015 in many markets, including Canada, Mexico, New Zealand, South Africa, Turkey, and parts of Australia, China and the United States.84

Expectations of further improvements were made evident in power auctions in 2015 and early 2016, with very low tender-generated prices for wind power in, for example, Egypt, Mexico, Morocco and Peru, and for solar PV in Chile, India, Mexico, Peru and the United Arab Emirates, rivalling new coal-fired capacity in these countries.85 However, the economic competitiveness of renewable technologies still depends on regulatory framework and market design.86

By the end of 2015, the top countries for total installed renewable electric capacity continued to be China, the United States, Brazil, Germany and Canada.87 China was home to more than one-quarter of the world’s renewable power capacity – totalling approximately 495 GW, including about 296 GW of hydropower.88 Considering only non-hydroi capacity, the top countries were China, the United States and Germany; they were followed by Japan, India, Italy and Spain.89 (See Figure 4 and Reference Table R2.) Among the world’s top 20 countries for non-hydro renewable power capacity, those with the highest capacity amounts per inhabitant were Denmark, Germany, Sweden, Spain and Portugalii.90

Figure 4. Renewable Power Capacities* in World, EU-28, BRICS and Top Seven Countries, End-2015

Throughout the year, there were noteworthy developments in most regions:

  • Asia: Of all regions, Asia installed the most renewable power generating capacity during 2015. China again led the world in additions of hydropower capacity, was a leader in bio-power capacity and set new world records for wind and solar power installations, although curtailment affected the potential for these assets to contribute to generation.91 India also ranked among the top countries for solar PV, hydro and wind power capacity additions, and Japan was second only to China for new solar PV installations.92 Turkey ranked first globally for new geothermal power capacity, third for new hydro and tenth for wind power capacity additions.93 Other countries in the region – including Malaysia, Pakistan, the Philippines, the Republic of Korea, Thailand and Vietnam – have emerged as important markets for more than one renewable power technology.94

  • Europe: Renewables accounted for the majority (77%) of new EU generating capacity for the eighth consecutive year, and the region continued to decommission more capacity from conventional sources than it installed.95 Between 2000 and 2015, the share of renewables in the EU’s total power capacity increased from 24% to 44%, and, as of 2015, renewables were Europe’s largest source of electricity.96 In Scotland, renewables met over half of electricity demand, a year ahead of an established target; throughout the United Kingdom, output from renewables hit a record high, passing coal for the first time in the fourth quarter of 2015.97 In Germany, renewable power output increased by 20% in 2015, and the share of renewables in electricity consumption was 32.6% (up from 27.4% in 2014).98 Even so, markets have slowed in most European countries due to reduced levels of financial support and to an increased focus on the integration of variable renewable generation.99

  • North America: In the United States, wind (8.6 GW) and solar (7.4 GW, solar PV and CSP) were the leading sources of new power capacity in 2015, exceeding natural gas capacity additions (about 6 GW).100 Renewables accounted for nearly 13.7% of electricity generation (up from 13.4% in 2014), despite a 3.2% drop in hydropower output.101 Canada continued to be a leader in hydropower development and ranked sixth globally for wind power capacity additions.102

  • Latin America and the Caribbean: Countries across the region achieved high shares of their electricity generation with renewables: for example, Costa Rica generated 99% of its electricity with renewable sources, Uruguay generated 92.8% and Chile has quickly surpassed several long-term targets.103 Latin America remained one of the fastest growing markets for wind energy and solar PV in 2015, albeit from a small base. Brazil was second globally for new hydropower and fourth for new wind power capacity (although transmission capacity has been unable to keep pace with wind power capacity); Guatemala brought its first wind power plant online, and Mexico was one of the few countries worldwide to add geothermal power capacity in 2015.104 Several countries – including Chile, Mexico and Peru – held successful tenders in 2015 and early 2016, resulting in some of the world’s lowest bid prices, due in part to the region’s vast renewable energy resources.105

  • Africa: Many countries throughout Africa increased their policy commitments in the power sector during 2015. All renewable power generating technologies except ocean energy are being deployed across the continent, with significant markets on-grid as well as off-grid (for solar PV in particular). In 2015, several countries (including Ethiopia, Guinea and Zambia) brought new hydropower facilities online.106 Morocco was the world’s largest CSP market, South Africa was the first country on the continent to achieve 1 GW of solar PV and helped push the continent’s wind power capacity above the 3 GW mark, and Kenya ranked fourth globally for new geothermal power capacity.107 Across Africa, renewable power projects and technology manufacturing facilities were being planned or were under construction.108

  • Pacific: Australia led the region in 2015 and was among the top 10 countries for newly installed solar PV, ending the year with the equivalent of one solar panel per inhabitant.109 Renewables accounted for about 14.6% of Australia’s electricity generation (up from 13.5% in 2014), despite a significant drop in hydropower generation.110 Elsewhere in the region, Samoa installed its first wind farm, and Fiji saw the inauguration of some solar PV micro-grid projects.111

  • Middle East: Relatively little renewable power capacity has been deployed in most countries of the region, but interest in CSP and solar PV, in particular, is growing rapidly.112 Iraq, Jordan and the United Arab Emirates all held tenders for renewable power in 2015. Jordan brought its first utility-scale wind farm online, Israel led the region for solar PV capacity additions, and significant steps were taken towards domestic manufacturing of solar technologies in several countries, including Saudi Arabia.113

i Distinction of non-hydro capacity is made because hydropower remains the largest single component by far of renewable power capacity and output.

ii While there are other countries with high per capita amounts of renewable capacity and high shares of renewable electricity, the GSR focuses here on the top 20 countries for total installed capacity of non-hydro renewables. Several other countries, including Austria, Finland, Greece, Ireland and New Zealand, also have high per capita levels of non-hydro renewable power capacity, with Iceland likely the leader among all countries. (See Reference Table R17 for country shares of electricity from renewable sources.)

The rapid growth of renewable power generation created both challenges and opportunities in 2015. In countries where electricity consumption is expanding, both renewable energy and fossil fuel generation are being deployed to meet growing demand. In countries with slow or negative growth in electricity consumption (e.g., several OECD countries), renewable energy is increasingly displacing existing generation and disrupting traditional energy markets and business models.114 In response to this competition, some incumbents are pushing back against supportive renewable power policies or adapting their business models by restructuring, consolidating or splitting.115 Other utilities and electricity suppliers are repositioning by acquiring significant renewable energy assets, decreasing their fossil fuel investments, acquiring other utilities that already have significant amounts of renewable energy in their generation portfolios and moving into new markets.116

Around the world, technical, economic and market transformation of the electric power sector continued to accelerate in 2015.117 Several factors are driving a transformation from centralised systems to more-complex systems that encompass a growing number of decentralised generating assets.118 These factors include technological advances, social change, policy goals and, in particular, declining costs and increasing shares of variable wind and solar PV.119 A key challenge is adapting the power grid to integrate rising shares of renewable generation, developing more-flexible systems to balance variable resources (on both the supply and demand sides) while minimising costs.120

Several jurisdictions – including Denmark, Germany, the state of South Australia and some US states – already have successfully integrated high shares of variable renewables.121 Throughout 2015, variable renewables achieved high penetration levels in several countries: for example, wind power met 42% of electricity demand in Denmark, 23.2% in Portugal and 15.5% in Uruguay; and solar PV accounted for 7.8% of electricity demand in Italy, 6.5% in Greece and 6.4% in Germany.122 Electric utilities also have successfully integrated very large shares over short time periods: for example, variable renewable generation reached new highs in Denmark, Germany and parts of the United States during the year.123

Many developed countries and some developing countries have begun to respond to the challenge of grid integration.124 Strategies in 2015 included various combinations of: increased flexibility on the demand side and on the supply side (e.g., innovations in flexible fossil power plants; energy storage, particularly pumped storage; active power controls at wind and solar power plants); construction of new transmission networks; development of smarter grids; interconnection and co-ordination with neighbouring grids; advanced resource forecasting; integrated heating and cooling systems; and innovative market designs.125

Dispatchable renewable energy plants – including reservoir hydro, biomass and geothermal power (and CSP with storage) contributed to flexibility. System balancing also is served by new and upgraded transmission interconnections, such as the Skagerrak 4 interconnector between Norway and Denmark, which became operational in 2015. The interconnector was built to help balance Denmark’s wind and thermal power and Norway’s hydropower.126 Innovative hybrid systems have emerged, such as the Longyangxia station in China, where 1,280 megawatts (MW) of hydropower is linked to a massive solar PV facility (850 MW upon completion).127 Further, advancements in inverter technologies are enabling solar and wind power to provide a range of balancing services.128

In addition, stationary battery storage continues to advance and costs are trending downwards.129 Utility-scale storage in the power sector, not including pumped storage and lead-acid batteries, increased by a record 250 MW in 2015 (compared with an estimated 160 MW in 2014), and projects announced by the year’s end totalled more than 1.2 GW.130 Although tiny compared with up to 145 GW of pumped storage hydropower capacity – which accounts for about 97% of global storage capacity and continued to expand in 2015 – the market is growing quickly.131 Most of the capacity is being installed in the developed world, but storage projects also are under way in developing countries, particularly in conjunction with mini-grids.132

The behind-the-meter storage (batteries) sector also took a great step forward in 2015 with some high-profile announcements and a host of companies competing for this small but rapidly growing market.133 Such markets are developing in Australia, Germany, Japan, parts of the United States and elsewhere, particularly in combination with small-scale solar PV.134 Innovative business and deployment models for integrating renewables and on-grid storage continued to emerge.135

Even so, in a growing number of regions and countries additional increases in variable renewable penetration will require changes to the grid system, regulations and market design.136 To address such challenges in the EU, several initiatives are under way to advance grid integration in the region, including changes in electricity market designs.137 In 2015, the German government issued a “white paper” proposing changes to the national electricity law and market.138 In the United States, California continued development of a flexible ramping product (due to be launched in 2016), which aims to shift generation as-needed through a new market mechanism that allocates the extra costs of flexibility.139

Globally, renewable electricity production in 2015 continued to be dominated by large (e.g., megawatt-scale and up) generators that are owned by utilities or large investors.140 Towards the end of 2015, more than half of global solar PV capacity was in projects of 4 MW and larger; the world’s 50 largest solar PV plants in operation by early 2016 had a combined capacity exceeding 13.5 GW, and at least 33 of these facilities came online (or achieved full capacity) in 2015 and early 2016.141 CSP and wind energy projects also are growing, as are wind turbines – the average-size turbine delivered to market in 2015 was 2 MW.142 The hydropower industry is using ever-larger units; the single largest hydropower turbine under development by early 2016 has a capacity of 1 GW.143

At the same time, there are some markets where distributed, small-scale generation has taken off, or is starting to do so. Bangladesh is the world’s largest market for solar home systems, and other developing countries (e.g., Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania in Africa; China, India and Nepal in Asia; Brazil and Guyana in Latin America) are seeing rapid expansion of small-scale renewable technologies for remote uses.144Developed countries and regions – including Australia, Europe, Japan and North America – have seen significant growth in numbers of residential electricity customers who produce their own power.145

Industrial auto-producers in developed and developing countries also generated significant amounts of renewable electricity (and heat) on site in 2015, particularly with waste biomass associated with forestry and agriculture.146 A European Commission-funded effort was launched in 2015 to develop innovative business models and regulations to increase the flexibility of electricity demand by energy-intensive industries in order to facilitate the growth and integration of variable renewable energy, while reducing industrial electricity costs.147

In addition, mini- and micro-grids, increasingly driven by renewable systems, are being employed in island and other remote communities to replace diesel generators or to provide electricity access for the first time (e.g., in the US state of Alaska and parts of Australia, island communities in Malaysia, remote areas of India and southern Africa) or to achieve energy independence and a more-secure and -resilient electricity supply (e.g., in the US northeast in the wake of natural disasters such as Hurricane Sandy).148These may be isolated or connected to a wider grid.

Community and co-operative ownership of renewable power capacity also expanded in 2015.149 Japan has seen a significant increase in community power projects since March 2011, interest in Australia is patchy but growing rapidly, and, in the United States, Community Choice Aggregation (which enables communities to contract with producers to tailor their own energy supply) is spreading beyond California.150 In Europe, citizens in Croatia, France, Greece and Spain have started to invest in renewable energy co-operatives, but they lag behind northern European countries due to different legal contexts and lack of support mechanisms.151 Denmark and Germany, in particular, have long traditions of community and local ownership of renewable energy systems, although Germany experienced a significant slowdown in 2015 due to policy revisions.152 (→See Feature.)

Major corporations and institutions around the world made large commitments in 2015 to purchase renewable electricity.153 It was a record-setting year in the United States, where large corporate buyers are helping to drive the market for renewable power and represent a rising share of renewable energy power purchase agreements (PPAs).154 In addition to PPAs and leases, some major companies are developing their own large-scale projects in the United States, Europe, Asia and elsewhere.155 In early 2016, the world’s biggest government contractor concluded a deal to buy solar power, joining a growing list of leading corporations (now also including industrial and manufacturing companies) signing deals for the first time in 2015 and early 2016.156 Other big purchasers included municipalities (See Policy Landscape chapter), the US military and mining companies from Australia to Chile to South Africa.157

Voluntary purchases of renewable energy from traditional utilities also continued in some countries, including several countries in Europe as well as Australia and the United States.158 In 2014 (latest available data), US voluntary retail green power sales totalled 74 terawatt-hours (TWh), up 10% over 2013, and represented about 2% of total US electricity sales.159

Through green purchasing, local ownership, and other means, increasing numbers of jurisdictions around the world aim to meet all of their electricity demand with renewable sources (the most common 100% target).160 Several cities, states and countries made new commitments to 100% renewable power in 2015, while others reached their targets.161 (See Policy Landscape chapter.) For example, Austria’s largest state, Lower Austria, achieved its 100% goal, providing electricity for 1.65 million people with hydro, wind, biomass and solar power.162 The German state of Schleswig-Holstein reached 100% net electricity from renewables during the year, as did several communities around the world.163

Heating and Cooling Sector

Energy use for heat accounted for about half of total world final energy consumption in 2015.164 Global consumption of heat energy grew at an average annual rate of less than 1% in recent years.165 Cooling demand also continued to increase in 2015 as a result of improved energy access and rising average global temperatures.166

Renewable energy is used to meet heating and cooling demands by means of solar, geothermal, aerothermal or hydrothermali, or biomass resources in solid, liquid and gaseous forms. Renewable technologies also can supply electricity that can be converted to heat. Because of an oversupply of electricity on the market at peak renewable energy production times, electrification of heat has received increasing attention, especially in Europe, although there were few concrete steps in this direction in 2015.167

In 2015, renewable energy’s share of final energy use in the heat sector was 25%; of this share, more than two-thirds was traditional biomass, predominantly in the developing world.168 Modern renewable energy supplied the remaining third – or approximately 8%.169 Although the total amount of deployed renewable heating and cooling technologies is growing worldwide, annual growth rates are falling.170 Low global oil prices resulted in a slowdown in investment in renewable energy heating and cooling during 2015.171

In the buildings sector, biomass and solar thermal energy account for the vast majority of modern renewable heat (with most recent estimates ranging from 7% to 10% of total heat demand combined). In the industry sector, bioenergy dominates renewable heat production (accounting for roughly 10% of total heat demand).172Trends in the use of renewable energy for heating vary by technology, although relative shares have remained stable in the past few years.

  • Bioenergy accounted for over 90% of modern renewable heat generation in 2015.173 In some regions – especially in European countries that import solid biomass – an ongoing discussion on the use of biomass for heat was spurred by the sustainability debate in the transport sector.174

  • Solar thermal accounted for roughly 8% of modern renewable energy heat output. The year 2015 saw increasing interest in and deployment of large-scale solar systems in district heating networks; markets also expanded for solar process heat in industry (such as food and beverage as well as the copper industry, which has substantial demand for low-temperature heat).175 However, most residential-scale solar thermal markets stagnated or declined due to low oil prices, a comparative dip in building construction in some regions and the low price of solar PV systems; exceptions included Denmark, Israel, Mexico, Poland and Turkey.176

  • Geothermal heat represented the remaining 2% share of modern renewable heat generation. Over the past few years, direct use of geothermal heat, excluding heat pumps, has grown by over 3% annually on average, with geothermal space heating growing around 7% annually. China, Turkey, Japan and Iceland lead in terms of heat energy generated by direct use of geothermal.177

There are important differences in renewable heating trends at the regional level:

  • Asia: China continued to lead the world in installed capacity of solar thermal, geothermal and biogas-fuelled heating systems in 2015. The country saw declining investment in solar thermal collectors for the second consecutive year, although demand increased in some market segments (e.g., multi-family residences).178 Elsewhere in Asia, modern biomass for residential heat markets has grown, especially in Japan and the Republic of Korea, where strict efficiency requirements have influenced the development of globally competitive biomass boilers.179 Some Asian countries, such as India, continued to use substantial shares of bioenergy for heat production in industry.180 Renewable energy use in clean cook stoves – dominated by biogas – also has been on the rise, in particular in China and India and to a lesser extent in Bangladesh and Cambodia.181

  • Europe: Renewable energy accounted for an estimated 18% of the EU’s total heating and cooling consumption; in industry, the overall share was 13%.182 Europe has experienced the strongest growth in renewable energy use for heat of any region, with average annual increases of almost 5% since 2008.183 Nonetheless, market growth slowed in 2015 due to the economic crisis, a downturn in the building sector and low oil prices.184 Despite the slowdown for some renewable heat technologies, residential-scale biomass boilers began to show signs of recovery in 2015, and geothermal-based district heat has expanded, especially where resources are optimal and where building construction has continued – as in Paris, Munich (Germany) and Gyor (Hungary).185 The market for heat pumps has continued to grow, especially in France and Finland (both with supportive government policies) and in Poland.186

  • North America: Renewable energy accounted for roughly 13% of final energy for heat in North America. Much of this was used in industry: in the United States, biomass contributes approximately 17% of industrial heat production.187 Growth rates in renewable energy use for heat have been comparatively slow (0.6%), due in part to reduced industrial output.188 Residential heating with wood pellets declined in 2015 as low oil prices reduced the cost-competitiveness of renewable heat, and solar thermal markets also continued to stall.189

  • Latin America: Biomass-based heat accounts for almost a third of industrial heat production in Latin America.190 Solar thermal markets are growing in Brazil’s residential sector, where demand for domestic hot water is accompanied by a lack of sufficient gas infrastructure and an over-burdened electric grid, and the technology is supported by social housing programmes.191 In Mexico, solar thermal installations increased 8% in 2015, thanks in part to mandates at the state and city level.192 Several countries throughout the region – including Argentina, Brazil, Costa Rica, Mexico and Uruguay – are working together to implement standards for solar hot water equipment that would support market development.193

  • Africa: Biomass supplies a substantial share (roughly a third) of Africa’s industrial-based heat.194 South Africa’s solar thermal market has grown relatively quickly, although it dropped in 2015 due to a delay in government tenders linked to an improved solar hot water programme.195 During the year Lesotho, Mozambique and Zimbabwe formulated new policies to support solar hot water.196 Countries in the Great Rift Valley, where there are significant geothermal resources (as in Kenya), have begun to tap direct geothermal heat for use in greenhouses, for example (as well as for electricity).197 Clean cook stoves, many of which use biogas as a source, are used increasingly in Africa, notably in Ethiopia, Kenya and, to a lesser extent, in Nigeria and Rwanda.198

  • Middle East: Counter to global trends, solar thermal markets grew in the Middle East during 2015.199 Oman, for example, announced plans to host the world’s largest solar thermal facility (>1 GW), which will produce steam for the oil industry.200 In addition, mandatory green building certifications (in the United Arab Emirates, for example) have helped spur solar cooling markets in the region.201

i Heat pumps utilise the ground, ambient air or water bodies for heating and cooling. The total share of renewable energy delivered by a heat pump on a primary energy basis depends not only on the efficiency of the heat pump and its operating conditions, but also on the composition of the energy used to drive the heat pump. (See Sidebar 4 in GSR 2014.)

In 2015, several trends continued that facilitate increases in renewable energy in the heating and cooling sector: the number of net-zero-energy buildings continued to rise, and improvements continued in the efficiency of industrial processes, building materials and heating and cooling systems. (See Energy Efficiency chapter.) In addition, although policies supporting energy efficiency and renewable energy generally are treated as separate policy pillars, there were examples in 2015 of policies that worked towards their integration. Notable are the EU labelling requirements for heating devices, which permit only those space and water heating systems that include renewable energy to achieve the best efficiency class rating.202

The expansion of district heating systems also may provide increased opportunities for renewable heating. The year 2015 saw an increasing use of solar heat for district heating systems, in both new and expanded systems, with Denmark (which now supplies 53% of its heat in district heating systems with renewables, waste incineration or industrial surplus heat) as an especially noteworthy mover.203 There also were a number of announcements to expand or develop biomass- and geothermal-based district heating systems – for example, in Scotland (biomass), Sweden (biomass) and France (geothermal).204 In China’s Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, progress continued on the implementation of a district heating system that will be powered by surplus wind energy.205

Seasonal storage of heat generated by renewable energy for district heating systems (heat is fed in the summer, taken out in winter) also has been deployed in a number of cases.206 Borehole thermal storage from solar collectors has been implemented in Canada, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands and Sweden, and a number of demonstration projects have been implemented in Australia, China and France.207 On a smaller scale, solar PV is being combined with heat pump systems, which provide storage and enable increased on-site consumption of the renewable energy generated.208

Solar technologies have accounted for the majority of renewable energy used to meet cooling demand in recent years. The growth rate of the global solar cooling market has fluctuated, averaging approximately 6% between 2010 and 2014.209 Although there is a niche market for medium-sized capacity installations (e.g., in hotels and hospitals, especially on islands where fuel must be imported), widespread deployment has stagnated due to relatively high system costs, space requirements and the complexity of solar thermal-based cooling, especially for small-capacity systems.210 Solar-based cooling discussions are shifting increasingly to integrated solar PV-driven systems, as the technology progresses in the research and development (R&D) stage.211 Bioenergy-based cooling – for example, via connection to adsorption chillers – remains in the R&D stage, with very little practical implementation due to high comparative cost.212

There also is growing interest in district cooling systems, spurred by an increasing demand for cooling.213 Growth in district cooling in the Middle East, namely in the United Arab Emirates, Qatar and Saudi Arabia, has surpassed other world regions. There was, however, also noteworthy development in Australia, the Republic of Korea and Singapore in 2015.214 Such systems offer opportunities for integration of renewable energy, although their deployment is as yet rare.215

In general, deployment of renewable technologies in the heating and cooling markets continued to be constrained by a limited awareness of the technologies, the distributed nature of consumption and fragmentation of the heating market, comparatively low fossil fuel prices, ongoing fossil fuel subsidies and a comparative lack of policy support.216

Despite challenges to renewable heating and cooling markets in 2015, there were international signals that awareness and political support for related technologies may be growing. A number of INDCs delivered to the UNFCCC for COP21 specifically mention goals to expand the use and manufacture of renewable heating technologies.217 In addition, the European Commission continued to develop its first strategy for heating and cooling in 2015 (launched in early 2016) with plans to boost energy efficiency in buildings and increase the use of renewable energy in the heating and cooling sector.218 The development of this strategy – one of the first of its kind – demonstrates a growing awareness of the potential of renewable heating and cooling.

Transport Sector

Global consumption of energy in transport has increased by an average of 2% annually since 2000 and accounts for about 28% of overall energy consumption.219 Most of the total transport energy demand (around 60%) is for passenger transport, a majority of which is for passenger cars.220 Road transport also accounts for a majority (around 67%) of freight transport, with shipping (23%) and rail (4%) accounting for smaller shares.221 Renewable energy accounted for an estimated 4% of global road transport fuel in 2015.222

There are three main entry points for renewable energy in the transport sector: the use of 100% liquid biofuels or biofuels blended with conventional fuels; the growing role of natural gas vehicles and infrastructure that can be fuelled with gaseous biofuels; and the increasing electrification of transportation.

Renewable energy use in transport received increasing international attention in 2015. Many countries pledged in their INDCs to “decarbonise fuel”, focusing largely on passenger transport.223 (See Sidebar 4 in Policy Landscape chapter.) The Partnership for Sustainable Low Carbon Transport, a multi-stakeholder partnership of more than 90 organisations, and the Global Fuel Economy Initiative continued work towards low-carbon (including renewable), efficient transport in 2015.224

Liquid biofuels (ethanol and biodiesel) represent the vast majority of the renewable share of global energy demand for transport. In 2015, ethanol production increased 4%, whereas global biodiesel production fell slightly (less than 1%).225 Although low oil prices negatively affected some sectors in 2015 (particularly heating and cooling), liquid biofuel markets were somewhat sheltered in many countries thanks to blending mandates.226 (See Reference Table R3.) Regional trends include:

  • North America: In the United States, the world’s largest biofuel producer, after long delays and lapses the biofuel industry received positive signals from policy makers in 2015. Ethanol production (based largely on maize) rose, and biodiesel production (based largely on soya oil) decreased slightly relative to 2014 levels.227 To the north, Canada, a leader in fuel ethanol production in past years, saw production fall in 2015.

  • Latin America: Brazil, the world’s second largest biofuel producer, increased both ethanol and biodiesel production during 2015, due to good sugarcane harvests and blending mandates. However, in Argentina, a leading producer in years past, output fell by 20% due to constrained export markets. Colombia, the region’s third largest biofuel producer, raised its ethanol production by almost 12% over 2014 levels, but its biodiesel production decreased slightly.228

  • Europe: In the EU, new rules came into force, amending existing legislation to limit to 7% the share of biofuels in transport from crops grown on agricultural land.229 Against this background, biofuel production in the region remained largely stable.

  • Asia: As fuel ethanol continued to grow in Asia, led by increases in China and Thailand, biodiesel production fell sharply. Indonesia, previously one of the top biodiesel producers worldwide, saw production decrease by roughly 60%. China’s biodiesel production increased, almost overtaking Indonesia’s 2015 levels.

  • Africa: Although biofuel production levels in Africa remained comparatively very low, the continent saw substantial growth in ethanol production in 2015.

Biofuels saw continued advances in new markets and applications during 2015. In Egypt, Japan, Mexico, the Netherlands and the United States, there were announcements of aviation biofuel supply agreements or plans to integrate aviation biofuel into future flights.230 United Airlines became the first US airline to move beyond demonstration to regular operations using biofuels.231 In addition, 2015 brought announcements of several feedstock-related innovations for aviation fuels, including drop-in fuels produced with woody biomass and efforts to convert municipal solid waste (MSW) into jet fuel.232 There also were announcements of fully renewable transatlantic flights based on a combination of algae-based biomass and solar energy, as well as an around-the-world flight powered solely by solar PV.233

Developments associated with gaseous fuels and electricity continued to create pathways for integrating renewables into transportation. The number of compressed natural gas (CNG) vehicles and fuelling stations continued to expand in 2015 – with notable development in the United States (which had reached more than 900 CNG stations in early 2016), India, Iran and the Netherlands – creating parallel opportunities for gaseous biofuels such as biomethane.234 Although biomethane production is concentrated primarily in Europe, early steps were taken to introduce the fuel in Latin America in 2015. For example, Brazil set new specifications for the production and sale of biomethane and launched its first biomethane-powered city bus.235

Electrification of the transport sector expanded during the year, enabling greater integration of renewable energy in the form of electricity for trains, light rail, trams as well as two- and four-wheeled electric vehicles.

The number of electric passenger vehicles (EVs) on the road increased again in 2015; key markets are in China, Northern Europe and the United States. Manufacturers announced several new models of light-duty EVs with longer ranges (300 kilometres) that are expected to be available at more-affordable prices in the coming years.236 The year 2015 also saw substantial developments in R&D for electrification of heavy-duty vehicles, broadening the scope beyond a focus almost exclusively on light-duty vehicles.237

Exploration of methods to integrate renewable energy into charging stations for electric cars expanded in 2015, although many projects are pilot or demonstration and integration remains relatively small-scale. Some companies also worked to expand charging networks worldwide, including stations powered by solar PV.238 China launched its largest solar PV charging station in 2015 (capable of charging 80 EVs per day) and launched a pilot project in Shanghai to test the ability of EVs to support the integration of renewable energy into the electric grid.239 Japan also announced implementation of solar-powered recharging stations in 2015.240 In the United States, innovators began demonstration of off-grid 100% solar carports for charging EVs – mobile charging stations that fit in standard parking spaces.241 For more-traditional, grid-tied charging stations, utilities in southern California began to explore innovative incentives to encourage customers to charge their vehicles when renewable energy is plentiful.242

The year 2015 also brought progress towards integrating renewable energy into EV charging infrastructure where markets are smaller or nascent. In the Middle East, for example, Jordanian officials signed letters of commitment to build 3,000 solar-powered electric charging stations over the next decade.243 In the Pacific, plans were announced to test the concept of solar-powered charging stations for a small fleet of electric cars in the Marshall Islands.244

In the shipping sector, integration of renewable energy stagnated in 2015, inhibited by low oil prices, a lack of supportive policies (very few national policies exist for renewables in shipping – the Marshall Islands is one noteworthy exception) and international regulation, and lock-in of shipping fleets.245Despite the lack of progress in renewable energy deployment, R&D continued in 2015, with Korean innovation in wind energy-supported ships; German developments of a 60-metre renewable-powered research freighter; and several pilot projects of biomethane application in ships that operate on liquefied natural gas (LNG).246 In addition, developments in battery-powered ferries in Northern Europe may enable further integration of renewable energy in the form of electricity.247

Several concrete strides were taken in the rail sector towards achieving existing goals to supply increasing shares of electricity demand with renewable energy, and new goals were announced during the year. In the Netherlands, to build on its goals established in 2014, the Dutch rail network completed a contract to source wind energy to meet up to 100% of the power needed to propel its trains by 2018; nearly half of the power for the network was supplied by wind power in 2015.248 In Australia, Canberra announced a new light rail project that requires an initial minimum of 10% renewables use, with a target to increase the share to 90% by 2020 and New South Wales announced a tender to supply the Sydney metro with renewable energy.249

Figure 5. Jobs in Renewable Energy


Global Overview

  1. Paolo Frankl, International Energy Agency (IEA), personal communication with REN21, 8 February 2016; Gevorg Sargsyan, World Bank, personal communication with REN21, 28 January 2016; Steve Sawyer, Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC), personal communication with REN21, 14 January 2016; Rabia Ferroukhi, International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), personal communication with REN21, March 2016.
  2. IEA, World Energy Outlook 2015 (Paris: 2015), p. 344,
  3. Klaus Töpfer, “The solar price revolution: why renewable energy is becoming cheaper than fossil fuels,” FlaglerLive, 7 April 2015,; Michael Liebreich, Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF), cited in Jennifer Runyon, “You can’t stop the growth of renewables, technology,” Renewable Energy World, 9 February 2016,; Angus McCrone, “McCrone: Paris – This time the private sector is playing the good cop,” BNEF, 27 October 2015,; Camille von Kaenel, “Energy security drives US military to renewables,” Scientific American, 16 March 2016,; Joby Warrick, “Wind, solar power soaring in spite of bargain prices for fossil fuels,” Washington Post, 30 December 2015,; IEA, op. cit. note 2, p. 31; Wendy Koch, “Why solar and wind are thriving despite cheap fossil fuels,” National Geographic, 22 January 2016, Environmental concerns and health costs are driving renewables in China and India; see, for example: Fred Pearce, “Paris COP21: U.N. climate talks could hasten the demise of coal,” Yale e360 Digest, 9 December 2015,; Liming Qiao, GWEC, personal communication with REN21, 16 December 2015; “China to halt new coal mine approvals amid pollution fight,” Bloomberg, 29 December 2015, See also Market and Industry Trends chapter of this report.
  4. Group of 7, “Leaders’ Declaration,” G7 Summit, Schloss Elmau, Germany, 7–8 June 2015,
  5. IRENA, “G20 embraces renewables at energy ministers meeting,” press release (Istanbul: 2 October 2015),; 25x’25, “G20 embraces renewables at energy ministers meeting,” Weekly REsource, 9 October 2015,; European Parliament, “EU position for COP21 climate change conference” (Brussels: November 2015),
  6. “Communique: G20 Energy Ministers Meeting,” 2015 Antalya Summit of G20 Energy Ministers, Istanbul, 2 October 2015,; IRENA, op. cit. note 5; Group of 20 (G20), “Fact sheet on the G20 Antalya Summit outcomes,” 15 November 2015,
  7. G20, G20 Energy Access Action Plan: Voluntary Collaboration on Energy Access, Final Draft, October 2015,; G20, “G20 energy ministers agreed on inclusive energy collaboration and G20 Energy Access Action Plan in their first ever meeting in Istanbul,” press release (October 2015),
  8. The SDGs were adopted in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, from United Nations (UN), “UN adopts new global goals, charting sustainable development for people and planet by 2030,” press release (New York: 25 September 2015), Goal 7 is “Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all,” per UN, “Sustainable Development Goals,”, viewed 18 February 2016.
  9. IEA, op. cit. note 2, p. 101; Martin Niemetz, Country Action Officer, Sustainable Energy for All (SE4All), Vienna, personal communication with REN21, 10 March 2016.
  10. UN Global Compact, “Global business leaders at the Business & Climate Summit send a clear message to national and international policymakers: ‘We want a global climate deal that achieves net zero emissions – make it happen at COP21’,” press release (Paris: 21 May 2015),
  11. Asia Investor Group in Climate Change et al., “Global Investor Statement on Climate Change,” December 2015, See also UN Global Compact, “The Road to Paris,” December 2015,
  12. Pope Francis’ environmental encyclical calls on Catholics to “protect our common home”, including through the substitution of renewable energy for fossil fuels, from The Vatican, Encyclical Letter Laudato Si’ of the Holy Father Francis on Care of Our Common Home (Vatican City: Vatican Press, 2015), p. 21, In August, Islamic leaders, through the Islamic Declaration on Climate Change, called for the world’s 1.6 billion Muslims to play an active role in combatting climate change. Among other things, the declaration urged governments to conclude “effective universal” agreement in Paris and called on people of all nations and their leaders to both phase out greenhouse gas emissions and commit to 100% renewable energy or a zero-emissions strategy as soon as possible; see International Islamic Climate Change Symposium, “Islamic Declaration on Global Climate Change,” August 2015, In October, the Dalai Lama and 11 other Buddhist authorities released a letter urging the phasing out of fossil fuels and movement toward 100% renewable energy; see, for example, Lydia O’Connor, “Buddhist leaders call for climate change action at Paris talks,” Huffington Post, 17 November 2015,; Global Buddhist Climate Change Collective, “Buddhist Climate Change Statement to World Leaders,” 29 October 2015,; “The time to act is now: A Buddhist Declaration on Climate Change,” 14 May 2015, The Hindu Declaration on Climate Change called on the world’s 900 million Hindus to play a part in reducing climate pollution and urging a transition towards 100% clean energy; see “Bhumi Devi Ki Jai! A Hindu Declaration on Climate Change,” November 2015, Other religious statements on climate change in 2015 and previous years have included Baha’i, several Protestant Christian faiths, Interfaith, Judaism and Sikh; see, for example: “The Forum on Religion and Ecology, Yale University, “Climate change statements from world religions,”, viewed 13 April 2016; Interfaith Power & Light, “Religious Statements on Climate Change,”, viewed 13 April 2016; Rabbi Arthur Waskow, “300+ rabbis sign rabbinic letter on the climate crisis,” Huffington Post, 15 May 2015,
  13. UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), “INDC – Submissions,” Pages/submissions.aspx, viewed 29 January and 4 May 2016.
  14. IEA, op. cit. note 2, Executive Summary; Christiana Figueres, UNFCCC Executive Secretary, quoted in UNFCCC, “Historic Paris agreement on climate changes: 195 nations set path to keep temperature rise well below 2 degrees Celsius,” press release (Paris: 12 December 2015),; Sargsyan, op. cit. note 1; Rainer Hinrichs-Rahlwes, European Renewable Energies Federation (EREF), personal communication with REN21, 3 February 2016; Sven Teske, University of Technology-Sydney, personal communication with REN21, 1 February 2016; Steve Sawyer, Secretary General, GWEC, personal communication with REN21, 15 December 2015.
  15. White House, “US-China Joint Presidential Statement on Climate Change” (Washington, DC: 25 September 2015),; White House, “Fact sheet: The United States and China issue Joint Presidential Statement on Climate Change with new domestic policy commitments and a common vision for an ambitious global climate agreement in Paris,” press release (Washington, DC: 25 September 2015),
  16. Latvian Presidency of the Council of the European Union, “Submission by Latvia and the European Commission on Behalf of the European Union and Its Member States” (Riga: 6 March 2015),; European Parliament, op. cit. note 5.
  17. Arthur Nelsen, “India unveils global solar alliance of 120 countries at Paris climate summit,” The Guardian (UK), 30 November 2015,; “Working Paper on International Solar Alliance (ISA),”, viewed 14 April 2016.
  18. See, for example, Megan Rowling, “Rising number of local governments set targets to cut emissions,” Reuters, 3 July 2015,
  19. Joshua S. Hill, “Africa launches 300 GW renewable energy initiative,” CleanTechnica, 3 December 2015,; Becky Beetz, “COP21: African renewable energy initiative launched, 300 GW 2030 target,” PV Magazine, 3 December 2015,
  20. Climate Vulnerable Forum, “World’s vulnerable open gateway to climate safe future at Paris,” press release (Paris: 30 November 2015),
  21. “Mille maires s’allient pour aller plus loin que l’Accord de Paris,” Environnement Magazine, 7 December 2015,; Climate Summit for Local Leaders, “Paris City Hall Declaration – A Decisive Contribution to COP21” (Paris: 4 December 2015),; Teske, op. cit. note 14.
  22. Ferroukhi, op. cit. note 1. See also Policy Landscape chapter for this report. The Climate Group, “Compact of States and Regions,”, viewed 13 May 2016;
    Under 2 MOU website,
  23. McCrone, op. cit. note 3.
  24. Environmental and Energy Study Institute (EESI), “Progress outweighs uncertainty in Paris Climate Deal,” press release (Washington, DC: 12 December 2015),; there were 2,034 companies as of 17 February and 2,090 companies as of 12 May 2016, from NAZCA, “Companies,”; White House, “Fact sheet: White House announces commitments to the American Business Act on Climate Pledge,” press release (Washington, DC: 19 October 2015),; White House, “White House announces additional commitments to the American Business Act on Climate Pledge,” press release (Washington, DC: 30 November 2015),
  25. Steve Sawyer, “The Paris climate conference is over, but the renewable energy transformation has kicked into high gear,” Huffington Post, 17 December 2016, As of late March 2016, RE100 included 56 companies based in China, India, the United States and countries across Europe, from RE100, “Companies,”, viewed 28 March 2016.
  26. See, for example: Sawyer, op. cit. note 25; Julia Pyper, “The world’s biggest companies on why they buy renewables: ‘It’s a very clear economic issue’,” Greentech Media, 30 October 2015,; Heymi Bahar, IEA, personal communication with REN21, 8 February 2016.
  27. IEA, op. cit. note 2, Executive Summary.
  28. Global energy-related CO2 emissions stayed flat for the second consecutive year according to preliminary IEA data, from IEA, “Decoupling of global emissions and economic growth confirmed,” press release (Paris: 16 March 2016),; IEA, Energy and Climate Change, World Energy Outlook Special Report (Paris: 2015),; Fatih Birol, IEA, Preface in GWEC, Global Wind Report: Annual Market Update 2015 (Brussels: April 2016), p. 6, In 2015, global carbon emissions declined even as the economy grew due to decreased coal use in China, slower global growth in petroleum and faster growth in renewables, from Robert B. Jackson et al., “Reaching peak emissions,” Nature Climate Change (2015), Since 2000, global CO2 emissions have grown by an average of 2.4% annually; the only decline in growth was in 2009, at the height of the global financial crisis, per Fred Pearce, “Soaring global CO2 emissions may have peaked, data show,” Yale e360 Digest, 7 December 2015, See also PBL Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency and European Commission Joint Research Centre, Trends in Global CO2 Emissions: 2015 Report (Brussels: November 2015), The global economy grew 2.6% in 2014 and 2.4% in 2015, from World Bank, Global Economic Prospects: Spillovers and Weak Growth (Washington, DC: January 2016), p. xix,; global GDP grew by 3.4% in 2014 and 3.1% in 2015, per International Monetary Fund, cited in IEA, op. cit. this note. An upward revision of China’s 2014 coal consumption partly explains why findings exceed a flattening of global CO2 emissions in 2014, as reported by the IEA in 2015 and REN21 in the GSR 2015. See also Alister Doyle, David Stanway, and Kathy Chen, “Exclusive: Chinese coal data cast doubt on historic stalling of world CO2,” Reuters, 16 September 2015,, and IEA, op. cit. note 2, p. 39. Note that China’s coal consumption was down an estimated 5–8% in 2015, per Pearce, op. cit. this note, and Alister Doyle, “Too early to hail dip in China’s CO2, despite coal fall-study,” Reuters, 30 March 2016,
  29. Climate Transparency, Summary: G20 Climate Action – A Turning Point? (Berlin: 2015),
  30. IEA, Energy and Climate Change, World Energy Outlook Special Report, op. cit. note 28; Climate Transparency, op. cit. note 29.
  31. Estimated shares and Figure 1 based on the following sources: total 2014 final energy consumption (estimated at 8,561 Mtoe) based on 8,480 Mtoe for 2013 from IEA, World Energy Statistics and Balances, 2015 edition (Paris: 2015), and escalated by the 0.95% increase in global primary energy demand from 2013 to 2014, derived from BP, Statistical Review of World Energy 2015 (London: 2015), Traditional biomass use in 2014 of 760 Mtoe assumes an increase of 1 Mtoe from 2013 based on 2013 value of 759 Mtoe from IEA, op. cit. note 2, pp. 348–49; 2012 value of 758 Mtoe from IEA, World Energy Outlook 2014 (Paris: 2014), p. 242; 2013 value “estimated at around 32 EJ” from IEA, Medium-Term Renewable Energy Market Report 2015 (Paris: 2015), p. 244, Modern bio-heat energy values for 2013 (industrial, residential, and other uses, including heat from heat plants) of 321.7 Mtoe (13.468 EJ) based on combined value of 14.8 EJ estimated for all renewable heat, of which around 91% is biomass, from IEA, idem, p. 243. Bio-power generation of 36.9 Mtoe (429.3 TWh), based on data from IEA, idem, p. 139, except for the following countries: United States data from US Energy Information Administration (EIA), Electric Power Monthly, February 2016, Table 1.1.A,, and corrected for difference between net and gross electricity generation; Germany preliminary statistics from Bundesministerium für Wirtschaft und Energie (BMWi), Erneuerbare Energien in Deutschland, Daten zur Entwicklung im Jahr 2015 (Berlin: February 2016), ; United Kingdom from UK Department of Energy & Climate Change (DECC), "Energy Trends Section 6 – Renewables" (London: March 2016), Table 6.1,; Government of India, Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE), “Physical progress (achievements) – up to the month of December 2015,”, viewed 1 February 2016; MNRE, “Physical progress (achievements) – up to the month of December 2014,”, viewed 21 January 2015. Wind power generation of 60.4 Mtoe (702 TWh) from IEA, idem, pp. 164, 170. Solar PV generation of 18.3 Mtoe (212 TWh), from IEA Photovoltaic Power System Programme (IEA PVPS), Trends 2015 in Photovoltaic Applications, Survey Report of Selected IEA Countries Between 1992 and 2014 (Paris: 2015), Table 11, p. 57, CSP estimated at 0.7 Mtoe (8.2 TWh), based on the reported output of Spain and the United States (7,393 GWh) and their share of global CSP capacity in 2014 (91%), from Red Eléctrica de España (REE), El Sistema Eléctrico Español, Avance 2015 (Madrid: 2015),, and from US EIA, op. cit. this note, Tables 1.1A and 6.2B. Ocean power was 0.1 Mtoe (1.1 TWh), from IEA, Medium-Term Renewable Energy Market Report 2015, op. cit. this note, p. 158. Geothermal electricity generation of 6.3 Mtoe (73.5 TWh), from Ruggero Bertani, “Geothermal power generation in the world 2010-2014 update report,” Proceedings of the World Geothermal Congress 2015 (Melbourne, Australia: 19–25 April 2015). Hydropower of 334 Mtoe (3,885 TWh) from BP, op. cit. this note. Solar thermal heating/cooling estimated at 28.8 Mtoe (1.21 EJ), from Franz Mauthner, AEE-Institute for Sustainable Technologies (AEE INTEC), Gleisdorf, Austria, personal communications with REN21, April 2016, and from Franz Mauthner, Werner Weiss, and Monika Spörk-Dür, Solar Heat Worldwide: Markets and Contribution to the Energy Supply 2014 (Gleisdorf, Austria: IEA Solar Heating and Cooling Programme (SHC), 2016). Note that the estimate does not consider air collectors. Geothermal heat (excluding heat pumps) estimated at 6.3 Mtoe (0.26 EJ), based on 2014 value from John W. Lund and Tonya L. Boyd, “Direct utilization of geothermal energy: 2015 worldwide review,” in Proceedings of the World Geothermal Congress 2015, op. cit. this note. For liquid biofuels, ethanol use was estimated at 47.8 Mtoe (2.05 EJ) and biodiesel use at 23.3 Mtoe (0.98 EJ), based on 94.5 billion litres and 30.4 billion litres, respectively, from IEA, Medium-Term Renewable Energy Market Report 2015, op. cit. this note, pp. 260–61, and from F.O. Licht, 2016; conversion factors from US Department of Energy (DOE), Alternative Fuels Data Center, Nuclear power generation was assumed to contribute 218 Mtoe (2,537 TWh) of final energy, from BP, op. cit. this note.
  32. Ibid.
  33. Global use of traditional biomass is declining, but the pace is not rapid, from Heinz Kopetz, World Bioenergy Association, personal communication with REN21, 2 February 2016. In some places, traditional biomass use is rising due to population increases combined with economic development, which means that there are more people and those people have more money to buy traditional fuel, or that they turn to fossil fuels rather than using biomass with modern technologies, from Adam Brown, Energy Insights, Paris, personal communication with REN21, 2 February 2016. Elsewhere, not even new fossil energy supply is gaining ground because of policy instability, political insecurity and corruption, from Ernesto Macías Galán, Alliance for Rural Electrification, personal communication with REN21, 19 January 2016.
  34. Galán, op. cit. note 33.
  35. IEA, Medium-Term Renewable Energy Market Report 2015, op. cit. note 31.
  36. Estimates of about two-thirds of final energy consumption and 54% of global greenhouse gas emissions based on IEA, Energy Technology Perspectives 2015: Mobilizing Innovation to Accelerate Climate Action (Paris: 2015), pp. 57, 98, For details on policies by sector, see Policy Landscape chapter.
  37. See Market and Industry Trends chapter.
  38. IEA, op. cit. note 2, p. 344.
  39. Kopetz, op. cit. note 33; Teske, op. cit. note 14.
  40. Heating and cooling from Werner Weiss, AEE INTEC, Gleisdorf, Austria, personal communication with REN21, 23 February 2016; turbulence from Sargsyan, op. cit. note 1; heating/cooling and biofuels from Frankl, op. cit. note 1, and from Kopetz, op. cit. note 33. Figure 2 based on the following: See relevant sections and endnotes for more details regarding 2015 data and sources. Geothermal based on data from US Geothermal Energy Agency (GEA), unpublished database, provided by Benjamin Matek, GEA, personal communication with REN21, 11 May 2016; and from Bertani, op. cit. note 31. Hydropower based on data from the following: US EIA, “Table: Hydroelectricity Installed Capacity (Million kilowatts),”, viewed 30 April 2016; International Hydropower Association (IHA), “2016 Key Trends in Hydropower” (London: March 2016),; IHA, 2016 Hydropower Status Report (London: May 2016),; IHA, personal communication with REN21, February–April 2016. Solar PV based on data from IEA PVPS, op. cit. note 31, p. 60, from Gaëtan Masson, IEA-PVPS and Becquerel Institute, personal communication with REN21, March–May 2016, and from SolarPower Europe, Solar Market Report & Membership Directory 2016 Edition (Brussels: April 2016). CSP based on commercial facilities only (demonstration or pilot facilities are excluded); global CSP statistics consolidated from the following sources: CSP Today, “Projects Tracker,”, viewed on numerous dates leading up to 23 March 2015; US National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), “Concentrating solar power projects by project name,”, viewed on numerous dates leading up to 23 March 2015; Luis Crespo, European Solar Thermal Electricity Association (ESTELA), Brussels, personal communication with REN21, 21 February 2016; REN21, Renewables 2015 Global Status Report (Paris: 2015), pp. 64–65,; IRENA, Renewable Capacity Statistics 2016 (Abu Dhabi: 2016), p.32, Wind power based on data from GWEC, op. cit. note 28, from FTI Consulting, Global Wind Market Update—Demand & Supply 2015 (London: 2016), Demand-Side Analysis, and from World Wind Energy Association (WWEA), World Wind Energy Report 2015 (Bonn: May 2016). Solar water heaters based on data from Mauthner, op. cit. note 31, and from Mauthner, Weiss, and Spörk-Dür, op. cit. note 31. Ethanol and biodiesel based on data from F.O. Licht’s World Ethanol & Biofuels Report, 25 April 2016, p. 277, and from IEA, Medium-Term Renewable Energy Market Report 2015, op. cit. note 31, p. 261.
  41. As measured by the Brent crude contract, oil prices fell from a high of USD 115.71/barrel on 19 June 2014 to USD 27.10/barrel on 20 January 2016, a decline of 76%, from Frankfurt School–UN Environment Programme Collaborating Centre for Climate & Sustainable Energy Finance (FS–UNEP Centre) and BNEF, Global Trends in Renewable Energy Investment 2016 (Frankfurt: March 2016), p. 11,; “Oil price fall blamed for sharp rise in UK firms folding,” BBC, 25 January 2016,
  42. See, for example: “China to halt new coal mine approvals amid pollution fight,” Bloomberg, 29 December 2015,; Jessica Shankleman, “As oil crashed, renewables attracted record $329 billion,” Bloomberg, 14 January 2016,; Tim McDonnell, “Coal companies are dying while their execs grab more cash,” Mother Jones, 2 September 2015,
  43. Michael Liebreich, BNEF, cited in Shankleman, op. cit. note 42.
  44. McCrone, op. cit. note 3.
  45. Ibid. Fred Pearce, “Peak coal: why the industry’s dominance may soon be over,” Yale e360 Digest, 19 June 2014, See also IEA, op. cit. note 2, Executive Summary.
  46. China plans to suspend approval of new mines starting in 2016 and to reduce coal’s share of energy consumption to 62.6%, down from 64.4% in 2015, per Nur Bekri, China National Energy Administration (CNEA), reported by Xinhua New Agency and cited in “China to halt new coal mine approvals amid pollution fight,” op. cit. note 42; developments in 2015 from CNEA, idem; China had more than 100 GW of coal-fired power plants standing idle during 2015, per Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis, Cleveland, OH, cited in Pearce, op. cit. note 3; another source says that China has nearly 1,000 coal-fired power plants in various stages of planning and construction, but that it recently reformed its gas-price system to encourage a shift away from coal, from “Japan, South Korea stick to coal plant policies despite global climate deal,” Reuters, 16 December 2015, In early 2016, CNEA ordered 13 provincial governments to stop issuing approvals for new coal-fired power plants until the end of 2015 and told 15 provinces to stop construction of plants already approved, from “[Heavy] thermal power encounter ‘wake-up call’: suspend 13 provinces approved projects, 15 provincial postponed (with thermal power GLF Roadmap,” Polaris Power Grid, 24 March 2016, (using Google Translate). The region with the highest expected growth rate for coal consumption is Southeast Asia, from IEA, “Global coal demand stalls after more than a decade of relentless growth,” press release (Singapore: 18 December 2015), For other Asia, see also Pearce, op. cit. note 3, and “Japan, South Korea stick to coal plant policies despite global climate deal,” op. cit. this note.
  47. For example, the UK announced plans in 2015 to phase out coal-fired power stations by 2025; Austria, Finland and Portugal also plan to become coal-free within the next decade, from James Crisp, “Coal lobby chief: COP21 means ‘we will be hated like slave traders’,”, 14 December 2015, Sub-national governments that have committed to phasing out coal include Ontario, Canada, which achieved its goal in 2014, and the US state of Oregon; see Ontario Ministry of Energy, “Clean Energy in Ontario,”, viewed 29 March 2016, Ontario Ministry of Energy, “A new era of cleaner air in Ontario,” press release (Toronto: 10 September 2014),, and Kristena Hansen, “Oregon governor signs landmark anti-coal bill into law,” Associated Press, 11 March 2016, Scotland closed its last coal plant in March 2016, from Susanna Twidale, “Scottish Power ends production at Scotland’s last coal power station,” Reuters, 23 March 2016,
  48. Second largest after China based on preliminary 2014 data from IEA, Key Coal Trends Excerpt from Coal Information (Paris: 2015), p. 13,; Katherine Tweed, “America’s coal production falls to its lowest level since 1986,” Greentech Media, 11 January 2016,; coal’s share of US electricity generation fell from 53% to 35% in five years, from Pearce, op. cit. note 3; coal has been overtaken by natural gas and renewables, and gas surpassed coal as the dominant source of electricity generation for the first time ever in April 2015, from Tweed, op. cit. this note; market value of the stock of the top five US coal producers fell from more than USD 45 billion around 2010 to under USD 2 billion by early 2016, from David Crane, “King Coal and the irony of the endgame,” Greenbiz, 16 February 2016,
  49. The value of fossil fuel subsidies fluctuates from year to year depending on reform efforts, consumption level of subsidised fuels, international fossil fuel prices, exchange rates and general price inflation, from IEA, op. cit. note 2, p. 96. See also Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), “OECD-IEA analysis of fossil fuels and other support,”, viewed 3 March 2016. Subsidies for renewables include USD 112 billion in the power sector and USD 23 billion for biofuels, all in 2014, from IEA, op. cit. note 2, p. 27.
  50. Integration from Paul Simons, IEA, presentation at 17e Colloque du Syndicat des Energies Renouvelables, UNESCO, Paris, 4 February 2016; lack of policy security/predictability and political instability in many countries, particularly in the developing world, from Galán, op. cit. note 33; fiscal constraints from idem and from Sargsyan, op. cit. note 1. Sidebar 1 based on the following sources: All information from REN21, UNECE Renewable Energy Status Report (Paris: December 2015),, except where otherwise noted; onshore wind potential based on country profiles published in IRENA, Renewable Energy Country Profiles for the European Union (Abu Dhabi: June 2013),, and in IRENA, Renewable Energy Country Profiles: Eurasia, Non-EU Europe and North America (Abu Dhabi: December 2013); CSP potential from IEA, Solar Energy Perspectives (Paris: OECD/IEA, 2011), p. 58,; solar water heating based on information compiled from local co-ordinating contributors and from Franz Mauthner, Werner Weiss, and Monika Spörk-Dür, Solar Heat Worldwide: Market and Contribution to the Energy Supply 2013 (Gleisdorf, Austria: IEA Solar Heating & Cooling Programme, June 2015), p. 30,; strategies and targets from IEA, Eastern Europe, Caucasus and Central Asia (Paris: OECD/IEA, 2015), The countries without feed-in tariffs are Moldova, the Russian Federation, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan. As of 2015, tendering was used in Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro and the Russian Federation. Net metering has been adopted in Armenia, Belarus, Montenegro and Ukraine. Countries without national energy efficiency targets include Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Kyrgyzstan and Turkmenistan. Countries without national energy efficiency awareness campaigns are Albania, Armenia, Turkmenistan and Ukraine. For investment data, see Figure 13 in REN21, UNECE Renewable Energy Status Report, op. cit. this note; entrenched interests as a barrier from Samantha Ölz, independent consultant, Moscow, personal communication with REN21, 24 January 2016.
  51. Hinrichs-Rahlwes, op. cit. note 14.
  52. FS–UNEP Centre and BNEF, op. cit. note 41, p. 19.
  53. Galán, op. cit. note 33; Alex Morales, “Renewable energy freeing island nations from fossil fuel prices,” Renewable Energy World, 11 December 2015,; “Case study: Pakistan’s wind energy market,” WWEA Quarterly Bulletin, March 2015, p. 12. See also Carlo Schick, WWEA, “Avenues for community wind in developing countries: trends and innovative business models from South Africa and Mexico,” presentation, Husum, Germany, 15 September 2015,
  54. IEA, op. cit. note 2, p. 344; Sargsyan, op. cit. note 1. Based on internal changes at the World Bank as well as experience with various countries. See also Market and Industry Trends chapter.
  55. See Market and Industry Trends chapter.
  56. Brazil, India and Mexico from Hinrichs-Rahlwes, op. cit. note 14; Chile, Mexico, Morocco and South Africa from BNEF, “Clean energy defies fossil fuel price crash to attract record $329bn global investment in 2015,” press release (London and New York: 14 January 2016),; Chris Mooney, “This will give you hope: developing countries are racing to install wind and solar,” Washington Post, 19 May 2015, See also Market and Industry Trends chapter.
  57. IRENA, Renewable Energy and Jobs – Annual Review 2016 (Abu Dhabi: 2016). Sidebar 2 from idem.
  58. BNEF, op. cit. note 56.
  59. FS–UNEP Centre and BNEF, op. cit. note 41.
  60. Ibid.
  61. See, for example, Katie Fehrenbacher, “Goldman Sachs to invest $150 billion in clean energy,” Fortune, 2 November 2015,; divestment from EESI, op. cit. note 24.
  62. Frankl, op. cit. note 1; backing away from coal also from McCrone, op. cit. note 3; 25x’25, “Major global insurer enters US renewables market,” Weekly REsource, 12 February 2016,
  63. Twenty banks loaned more than USD 1 billion, compared to 12 banks in 2014, from Thomas Emmons, Rabobank, cited in Jennifer Runyon, “Renewable energy finance outlook 2016: the year of the green dollar,” Renewable Energy World, 10 February 2016, Major new commitments from investment firms from, for example, Fehrenbacher, op. cit. note 61. Goldman Sachs announced “plans to invest USD150 billion in clean energy projects and technology like solar and wind farms, energy efficiency upgrades for buildings, and power grid infrastructure” by 2025 (up from a target of USD 40 billion by 2012), and will also seek to finance clean energy for developing world, from idem.
  64. Richard Taylor, IHA, personal communication with REN21, 7 October 2015. Note that green bond issuance increased from USD 2.6 billion in 2012 to USD 41.8 billion in 2015. Renewable energy accounted for 45.8% of 2015 green bond proceeds, followed by energy efficiency with 19.6% and low-carbon transport with 13.4%, from Michael Hofmann, Member, Inter-American Development Bank, Multilateral Investment Fund, personal communication with REN21, 7 April 2016. See also FS–UNEP Centre and BNEF, op. cit. note 41, p. 43. Major challenge from Heymi Bahar, IEA, personal communication with REN21, 8 February 2016.
  65. Raj Prabhu, Mercom, cited in Runyon, op. cit. note 63.
  66. Ferroukhi, op. cit. note 1; Katherine Tweed, “Bigger risk, bigger returns in renewable energy’s emerging markets,” Greentech Media, 20 April 2016,
  67. FS–UNEP Centre and BNEF, op. cit. note 41.
  68. Ibid., p. 23.
  69. Based on investment data for 2015 from Ibid.; GDP at purchaser’s prices for 2014 from World Bank, “Gross domestic product 2014,” World Development Indicators,, viewed 25 April 2016.
  70. Population data for 2014 from World Bank, “Population, total,” World Development Indicators,, viewed 10 March 2016. See Investment Flows chapter for more on BNEF investment data. Note that data on small distributed capacity (solar PV <1 MW) are available only for countries investing USD 0.2 billion or more during the year. In addition, data are not available by country for investment in ocean energy, so this technology is not included in the rankings. Global investment in ocean energy during 2015 was USD 215 million, per FS–UNEP Centre and BNEF, op. cit. note 41, p. 15.
  71. Galán, op. cit. note 33.
  72. See Market and Industry Trends chapter, particularly Solar PV and Wind Power sections.
  73. See, for example: AECOM Australia Pty Ltd, prepared for the Australian Renewable Energy Agency, Energy Storage Study: Funding and Knowledge Sharing Priorities (Sydney: July 2015),; Jason Deign, “8 potential battery breakthroughs: lab innovations have come to light almost weekly in the last quarter,” Greentech Media, 14 August 2015,; Laurie Reese, “Energy storage: a different view from Germany,” Renewable Energy World, 19 June 2014,; in 2015, the EU announced funding for a compressed air energy storage project in Northern Ireland, although several large projects have been put on hold or canceled in recent years, from FS–UNEP Centre and BNEF, op. cit. note 41, p. 38; Will Wade, “Tesla’s competitors jostle to solve energy storage riddle,” Renewable Energy World, 4 May 2015,; Katherine Tweed, “7 energy storage stories you might have missed in 2015,” Greentech Media, 22 December 2015,; Susan Kreamer, “Commercializing standalone thermal energy storage,” Renewable Energy World Magazine, November/December 2015, pp. 48–53; Craig Morris, “Power to heat gets going in Germany,” Renewables International, 23 June 2015,; Christopher Martin, “Gates, Pritzkers take on Musk in $5 billion race for battery storage,” Renewable Energy World, 15 April 2015,; Katherine Tweed, “Toronto hydro pilots world’s first offshore compressed-air energy storage project,” Greentech Media, 25 November 2015,; Andrew Spence, “Sandy solution for renewable energy storage,” Renewable Energy World, 12 November 2015,; Jason Deign, “Researcher claim 90 percent efficiency gain over PV electricity generation,” Greentech Media, 15 September 2015,; Chris Martin, “The $5 billion race to build a better battery,” Bloomberg, 14 April 2015,
  74. FS–UNEP Centre and BNEF, op. cit. note 41, p. 38. See also, for example: Tina Casey, “Flow battery vs. Tesla battery smackdown looming,” CleanTechnica, 21 June 2015,; Eric Wesoff, “Flow battery builder UET ends year with $25M investment from Japan’s Orix,” Greentech Media, 29 December 2015,; Graphenano, “Graphenano announces the launch of a manufacturing plant for graphene-based batteries,” 16 November 2015,; Lewis Krauskopf, “General Electric aims big in energy storage after battery step back,” Reuters, 26 July 2015,; James Ayre, “Bosch + GS Yuasa “on target” to offer lithium-ion batteries with twice the energy density at half the cost by 2020,” CleanTechnica, 15 July 2015,
  75. FS–UNEP Centre and BNEF, op. cit. note 41, p. 38, declining costs and other developments also from AECOM Australia Pty Ltd, op. cit. note 73, and from Gavin Bade, “ARPA-E 2015: Storage, a ‘plug-and-play’ grid, and SolarCity’s appeal to utilities,” Utility Dive, 12 February 2015,
  76. See Market and Industry Trends chapter, Reference Table R1 and related endnotes for details.
  77. Ibid.
  78. Ibid.
  79. Tom Randall, “Fossil fuels just lost the race against renewables,” Bloomberg, 14 April 2015,
  80. Share of net additions from an estimate of 62.5%, based on a total of approximately 147.5 GW of renewable capacity added (net), as noted in this report, and on assumed combined net additions of 88.5 GW nuclear and fossil fuel capacity, for a total of 235.7 GW global net additions, of which renewables account for nearly 62.5%. Nuclear and fossil fuel estimate based on the following: net capacity additions of 42 GW coal and 40 GW natural gas, from FS–UNEP Centre and BNEF, op. cit. note 41, p. 31. Note that there also were (unspecified) net reductions in oil-fired generating capacity that are not included in these calculations. Net nuclear capacity increase of 6.52 GW based on year-end 2014 and year-end 2015 cumulative capacity, from International Atomic Energy Agency, “Nuclear power capacity trends,” PRIS Database,, updated 27 April 2016. For more detail on renewable power generating capacity, see Reference Table R1, technology sections in Market and Industry Trends chapter and related endnotes. Note that some hydropower capacity added may have been for refurbishment of existing plants; however, even if half of hydropower capacity additions were assumed to be net (replacement), and not included, the renewable energy share of total (net) additions is 60%.
  81. Renewable share of total global electric generating capacity is based on an estimated renewable total of nearly 1,849 GW at end-2015 (see Reference Table R1 and related endnote for details and sources) and on total global electric capacity in the range of 6,399 GW. Estimated total global capacity for end-2015 is based on 2014 total of 6,163 GW, from IEA, op. cit. note 2, p. 311; on about 235.7 GW of net power capacity additions in 2015, as outlined in Endnote 80. Share of generation based on the following: Total global electricity generation in 2015 is estimated at 23,741 TWh, based on 23,536.5 TWh in 2014 from BP, op. cit. note 31, and on an estimated 0.87% growth in global electricity generation for 2015. The growth rate is based on the weighted average actual change in total generation for the following countries (which together account for nearly two-thirds of global generation in 2014): United States (-0.15% net generation), EU-28 (+2.46% gross generation for the first 11 months of each year), Russian Federation (+0.2%), India (+3.76%), China (+0.5%) and Brazil (-0.13%). Sources for 2014 and 2015 total electricity generation by country are: US EIA, op. cit. note 31, Table 1.1; European Commission, Eurostat database,; System Operator of the Unified Power System of Russian Federation,; Government of India, Ministry of Power, Central Electricity Authority, “Monthly Generation Report,”; CNEA, “National Electric Power Statistics,”; National Operator of the Electrical System of Brazil (ONS), “Geração de Energia,” Hydropower generation in 2015 is estimated at 3,940 TWh, based on 2014 hydropower output of 3,885 TWh from BP, op. cit. note 31, as well as observed average year-on-year change in output (+1.4%) for many top producing countries (China, Brazil, Canada, the United States, the EU-28, Russian Federation, India, Norway, Turkey, Japan and Mexico), which together accounted for over three-fourths of global hydropower output in 2014. Hydropower generation from country sources as follows: US EIA, op. cit. this note; Statistics Canada,; European Commission, op. cit. this note; Statistics Norway,; ONS, op. cit. this note; System Operator of the Unified Power System of Russia, op. cit. this note; Government of India, op. cit. this note; CNEA, op. cit. this note; Turkish Electricity Transmission Company, ; Emi Ichiyanagi, Japan Renewable Energy Foundation (JREF), based on data from Japan’s Agency for Natural Resources and Energy, personal communication with REN21, March 2016; Mexico’s Secretary of Energy (Secretaría de Energía), "Prospectiva de Energías Renovables 2015-2029," Sources for non-hydro renewable generation of 1,693 TWh in 2015 are detailed by technology in the Market and Industry Trends chapter. Figure 3 based on idem.
  82. IEA, Medium-Term Renewable Energy Market Report 2015, op. cit note 31, p. 131.
  83. Adnan Z. Amin, “The falling costs of renewable energy: no more excuses,” Huffington Post, 30 November 2015,; Jessika Trancik et al., Technology Improvement and Emissions Reductions as Mutually Reinforcing Efforts: Observations from the Global Development of Solar and Wind Energy (Cambridge, MA: Massachusetts Institute of Technology, November 2015), p. 6,
  84. Mexico, New Zealand, Turkey, and parts of Australia, China and the United States from Steve Sawyer, GWEC, personal communication with REN21, 29 October 2015; Canadian Wind Energy Association (CanWEA), “Wind energy continues rapid growth in Canada in 2015,” press release (Ottawa: 12 January 2016),; South Africa from GWEC, “Wind energy has saved South Africa R1.8 billion more than it cost for first half of 2015 – and it’s cash positive for Eskom,” undated,, and from Joanne Calitz, Crescent Mushwana, and Tobias Bischhof-Niemz, “Financial benefits of renewables in Africa in 2015,” CSIR Energy Centre, 14 August 2015,; United States also from “Wind power now cheaper than natural gas for Xcel, CEO says,” Renewable Energy World, 27 October 2015,, and from Ryan Wiser et al., 2014 Wind Technologies Market Report, prepared for US DOE, Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) (Berkeley, CA: Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, August 2015), p. viii, See also IEA, op. cit. note 36, p. 81.
  85. Wind in Egypt, Mexico, Morocco and Peru from Steve Sawyer, GWEC, personal communication with REN21, 20 April 2016, and from Steve Sawyer, “Global wind energy insight: wind leading the charge in transformation of power system,” Renewable Energy World, 19 April 2016, Morocco’s Vice-Minister for Energy and Environment, Abderrahim El Hafidi, made an announcement about the winner of the country’s recent 850 MW wind tender, in which the winning price was about USD 0.03/kWh (about EUR 0.028), making it cheaper to build wind than an (unmitigated) coal plant, even if coal were free, from Steve Sawyer, GWEC, personal communication with REN21, 26 January 2016. The bidders will take advantage of Morocco’s coastal exposure to the North Atlantic trade winds, from idem. In India, the winning bid during a solar auction prompted the country’s energy minister to declare solar energy cheaper than coal-fired generation, from Piyush Goyal on 19 January 2016, cited in Kunal Anand, “For the first time In modern India’s history, solar energy is cheaper than coal,” India Times, 27 January 2016,, and from Giles Parkinson, “India energy minister says solar power now cheaper than coal,” RenewEconomy, 21 January 2016, A recent government auction in India’s sunny state of Rajasthan put the winning solar bid at roughly the same price as recent coal projects, from Huizhong Wu, “India’s big move into solar is already paying off,” CNN, 7 March 2016, In Mexico, solar bids in March 2016 averaged USD 40.5/MWh, from Vanessa Dezem and Adam Williams, “Mexico first power auction awards 1,720 MW of wind, solar,” Renewable Energy World, 30 March 2016, In Peru, the fourth auction for renewable generation led to 13 awarded projects, with 99% of the annual energy required covered, from a total of 111 participants. The average price obtained was 22% below current conventional energy price in Peru, from Lucas Furlano, Fundación Bariloche, Argentina, personal communication with REN21, 5 April 2016. Dubai, UAE’s tender was with the Dubai Electricity and Water Authority for what was then the lowest-cost unsubsidised electricity to date, just under USD 60/MWh, from “Modules, large-scale PV see big price drop in 2010-2014,” PV Insider, 9 November 2015, Note, however, that the race for the lowest-ever prices has some downsides that are seldom discussed. For example, very low bids – such as the early 2016 Spanish auction with wind onshore at zero Euros – cannot be explained solely by cost reductions, but there is an element of strategic outcompeting of new players through extremely low bids and then, at a later date, increasing prices or not constructing projects at all (if penalties are not high enough). Whereas incumbents can usually afford to lose an auction or two, new and independent producers cannot. Rainer Hinrichs-Rahlwes, EREF, personal communication with REN21, 11 March 2016.
  86. IEA, Medium-Term Renewable Energy Market Report 2015, op. cit. note 31, p. 16.
  87. Rankings were determined by gathering data for the world’s top countries for hydropower, wind, solar PV, CSP, biomass and geothermal power capacity. See Market and Industry Trends chapter and related endnotes for more detailed information. Data from the following sources: China: Hydropower from CNEA, National Electric Power Industry Statistics, in National Energy Board, 15 January 2016,; wind power from GWEC, op. cit. note 28, p. 11; solar PV from CNEA, cited in China Electricity Council, “2015 PV-Related Statistics,” 6 February 2016, (using Google Translate), and from IEA PVPS, Snapshot of Global PV Markets 2015 (Paris: 2016),; bio-power from China National Renewable Energy Centre, provided by Amanda Zhang, Chinese Renewable Energy Industries Association (CREIA), personal communication with REN21, 26 April 2016, and from IRENA, op. cit. note 40; geothermal power from GEA unpublished database, provided by Benjamin Matek, GEA, personal communication with REN21, March–May 2016; CSP from NREL, “Concentrating solar power projects in China,”, updated 17 February 2014, from CSP Today, op. cit. note 40, updated and viewed continuously on numerous occasions leading up to 22 April 2016; ocean power from Ocean Energy Systems (OES), Annual Report 2015 (Lisbon: April, 2016), United States: Hydropower from US EIA, op. cit. note 31, Table 6.2B; wind power from American Wind Energy Association (AWEA), “US Wind Industry Fourth Quarter 2015 Market Report” (Washington, DC: 27 January 2015), p. 1,; solar PV from GTM Research and US Solar Energy Industry Association (SEIA), “Solar Market Insight 2015 Q4: Executive Summary” (Washington, DC: 9 March 2016),; bio-power from US Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), “Office of Energy Projects Energy Infrastructure Update for December 2015,” Note that bio-power data are lower according to data from US EIA, Electric Power Monthly with Data for December 2015 (Washington, DC: February 2016), p. 129, Table 6.1.,; geothermal from GEA database, op. cit. this note; CSP from NREL, “Concentrating solar power projects in the United States,”, updated 17 February 2014, from CSP Today, op. cit. note 40, updated and viewed continuously on numerous occasions leading up to 22 April 2016, and from Parthiv Kurup and Craig Turchi, “NREL CSP Data – US plants V2,” presentation (Golden, CO: NREL, 19 February 2016), p. 2; ocean power from OES, op. cit. this note. Brazil: Hydropower based on data from Agência Nacional de Energia Elétrica (ANEEL), “Resumo geral dos novos empreendimentos de geração,” updated February 2016,ç wind power from GWEC, op. cit. note 28, p. 11, and from WWEA, World Wind Energy Report 2015 (Bonn: May 2016); solar PV and bio-power from ANEEL, “Banco de informações de geração,”, viewed 16 February 2016, provided by Maria Beatriz Monteiro and Suani Teixeira Coelho, February 2016, and from Becquerel Institute, April 2016. Germany: Hydropower from Bundesministerium für Wirtschaft und Energie (BMWi) and Arbeitsgruppe Erneuerbare Energien-Statistik (AGEE-Stat), Zeitreihen zur Entwicklung der erneuerbaren Energien in Deutschland, unter Verwendung von Daten der Arbeitsgruppe Erneuerbare Energien-Statistik (AGEE-Stat / Working Group on Renewable Energy-Statistics), February 2016, p. 8,; wind power from BMWi, Erneuerbare Energien in Deutschland, Daten zur Entwicklung im Jahr 2015 (Berlin: February 2016),, and from BMWi, Development of Renewable Energy Sources in Germany 2015, Statistical data from the Working Group on Renewable Energy-Statistics (AGEE-Stat), as at February 2016, p. 17,; solar PV from BMWi, Erneuerbare Energien in Deutschland…, op. cit. this note; bio-power from BMWi, Development of Renewable Energy Sources in Germany 2015, op. cit. this note; CSP from NREL, “Concentrating solar power projects in Germany,”, updated 17 February 2014; CSP Today, op. cit. note 40, continuously updated and viewed on numerous occasions leading up to 22 April 2016; geothermal power from GEA database, op. cit. this note. Canada: Hydropower from Statistics Canada, Table 127-0009, “Installed generating capacity, by class of electricity producer,”, from IHA, “2016 Key Trends in Hydropower” (London: March 2016),, and from IHA, personal communication with REN21, February–April 2016; wind power from CanWEA, op. cit. note 84; solar PV from IEA PVPS, op. cit. this note; bio-power from Michael Paunescu, Senior Policy Advisor, Renewable Energy, Electricity Resources Branch, Natural Resources Canada, Government of Canada, personal communication with REN21, 25 April 2016; CSP (pilot only) from NREL, “City of Medicine Hat ISCC Project,”, updated 3 August 2015; CSP Today, op. cit. note 40, updated and viewed continuously on numerous occasions leading up to 22 April 2016; ocean power from OES, op. cit. this note.
  88. China share based on data and references provided elsewhere in this section.
  89. Rankings for top countries for non-hydropower capacity based on data provided in Endnote 87, and from the following: Japan: Hydropower based on data from Japan Ministry of Economy Trade and Industry (METI), “Announcement regarding the present status of introduction of facilities generating renewable energy as of October 30, 2015,” February 2016, provided by Hironao Matsubara, Institute for Sustainable Energy Policies (ISEP), personal communication with REN21, February 2016; wind power from Japan Wind Power Association, “Installed capacity of wind power generation at the end of 2015: 3,038 MW, 2,077 units,” 25 January 2016, provided by Matsubara, op. cit. this note, from GWEC, op. cit. note 28, and from WWEA, op. cit. note 87; solar PV from IEA PVPS, op. cit. note 87; bio-power from METI, op. cit. this note; geothermal power from ISEP, Renewables 2015 Japan Status Report, January 2016, provided by Matsubara, op. cit. this note (feed-in tariff data by end of October 2015, with total end-2015 capacity estimated based on monthly installation. India: Hydropower from Government of India, Ministry of Power, Central Electricity Authority, “All India Installed Capacity (in MW) of Power Stations as on 31.12.2015 (Utilities),”, from Government of India, Ministry of Power, Central Electricity Authority, “Executive Summary of the Power Sector (monthly),”, from MNRE, op. cit. note 31, both sources, and from Government of India, Ministry of Power, Central Electricity Authority, “Executive Summary of the Power Sector (monthly),” January 2016,; wind power from MNRE, op. cit. note 31, and from GWEC, op. cit. note 28; solar PV from MNRE and Bridge to India, provided by Shaurya Bajaj, Bridge to India, personal communication with REN21, 13 April 2016; bio-power from MNRE, “Physical progress (achievements) – up to the month of December 2015,” op. cit. note 31; CSP from NREL, “Concentrating solar power projects in India,”, updated 17 February 2014, from CSP Today, op. cit. note 40, updated and viewed continuously on numerous occasions leading up to 22 April 2016, and from Heba Hashem, “India’s PV-led solar growth casts eyes on performance of CSP projects,” CSP Today, 9 November 2015, Italy: Hydropower from Gestore dei Servizi Energetici (GSE), “Energia da fonti rinnovabili in Italia, Dati preliminari 2015,” 29 February 2016,; wind power from European Wind Energy Agency (EWEA), Wind in Power: 2015 European Statistics (Brussels: February 2016), p. 4; solar PV from IEA PVPS, op. cit. note 87, and from GSE, op. cit. this note; bio-power from idem; geothermal power from idem and from GEA database, op. cit. note 87; CSP (all pilots) from NREL, “Concentrating solar power projects in Italy,”, updated 17 February 2014, and from CSP Today, op. cit. note 40, updated and viewed continuously on numerous occasions leading up to 22 April 2016; ocean power from OES, op. cit. note 87. Spain: Hydropower from REE, “Potencia Instalada nacional (MW),” 8 April 2016,; wind power from EWEA, op. cit. this note; solar PV from IEA PVPS, op. cit. note 87; bio-power from REE, op. cit. note 31, p. 5; Crespo, op. cit. note 40; also from REE, op. cit. note 31, p. 5; ocean power from OES, op. cit. note 87. Figure 4 based on sources in this note and in Endnote 88, and on data for EU, BRICS and world available throughout this report, including Reference Tables R1 and R2 and associated endnotes.
  90. Based on data and sources in previous endnotes in this section for Germany and Spain, population data for 2014 from World Bank, “Population, total,” World Development Indicators,, updated 17 February 2016, data gathered from various sources throughout this report for more than 50 countries, and from the following: Denmark based on wind power from EWEA, op. cit. note 89, p. 4; solar PV from IEA PVPS, op. cit. note 87; bio-power based on IRENA, op. cit. note 40, and on 2014 data from Energistyrelsen, Danish Energy Agency (DEA), provided by Silas Alvin Petersen, Centre for Supply at DEA to Ines Aria, Euroheat on behalf of REN21, personal communication with REN21, 28 April 2016. Sweden based on wind power from EWEA, op. cit. note 89; solar PV from IEA PVPS, op. cit. note 87; bio-power from Swedish Bioenergy Association, Biokraft 2015,, from “17 Mjölby-Svartådalens Energi, Mjölby,” and from “27 Tekniska Verken, Linköping,”, all provided by Robert Fischer, Consultancy for Sustainable Energy Systems (C4SES), Sweden, personal communication with REN21, 25 April 2016; ocean power from OES, op. cit. note 87. Portugal based on EWEA, op. cit. note 89; solar PV from IEA PVPS, op. cit. note 87, from Directorate General for Energy and Geology (DGEG) website,, and from DGEG country contributor, personal communication with REN21, February 2016; bio-power from DGEG, op. cit. this note; geothermal power from GEA database, op. cit. note 87; ocean power from OES, op. cit. note 87.
  91. Leadership in bioenergy from GlobalData, cited in 25x’25, “China pushed global renewable installed capacity past 900 GWs in 2015,” Weekly REsource, 15 January 2016,; China added 830 MW in 2015, per Zhang, op. cit. note 87. See Market and Industry Trends chapter for more details and sources about added capacities and rankings. Curtailment from, for example, Max Dupuy and Wang Xuan, “China’s string of new policies addressing renewable energy curtailment: an update,” Regulatory Assistance Project, 8 April 2016,, and from Feifei Shen, “China’s grid operator blames bad planning for idled renewable energy,” Renewable Energy World, 1 April 2016,
  92. For details on hydropower, solar PV and wind power capacity in India and Japan, see relevant sections in Market and Industry Trends chapter.
  93. See Market and Industry Trends chapter.
  94. Malaysia for hydropower and solar PV; Pakistan for solar PV and wind power; Philippines for geothermal, wind power and solar PV; Republic of Korea for tidal, wind and solar PV; Thailand for wind and solar PV; Vietnam for hydropower and solar PV. See relevant sections in Market and Industry Trends chapter; IEA PVPS, op. cit. note 87; and GWEC, op. cit. note 28, p. 11.
  95. EWEA, op. cit. note 89, pp. 3, 6, 7.
  96. Ibid., p. 8. Renewable energy accounted for 28.7% of Europe’s power generation in 2015, followed by nuclear (26.8%) and coal (hard coal 15.6% and lignite 10.4%), with gas, oil and other conventional sources accounting for the remaining 18.3%, from Agora Energiewende, Energy Transition in the Power Sector in Europe: State of Affairs in 2015 (Berlin: April 2016), pp. 1, 31,
  97. Scotland’s share was estimated at the equivalent of 57.5% of Scotland’s power needs, from UK Department of Energy and Climate Change, cited in Scott McCulloch, “Renewables met 57% of Scotland’s electricity demand in 2015,” Daily Record, 31 March 2016,; Cassie Werber, “The UK is now producing a quarter of its electricity from renewables,” Quartz, 1 April 2016,
  98. Preliminary statistics from BMWi, Erneuerbare Energien in Deutschland, op. cit. note 87, and from BMWi, Zeitreihen zur Entwicklung der erneuerbaren Energien in Deutschland…, op. cit. note 87.
  99. Justin Scheck, “After years of growth, renewable-energy investors pull back from Europe,” Wall Street Journal, 4 February 2016,; FS–UNEP Centre and BNEF, op. cit. note 41; Hinrichs-Rahlwes, op. cit. note 14; Adam Brown, Energy Insights, Paris, personal communication with REN21, 6 May 2016.
  100. The United States installed 5,952 MW of new natural gas-fired capacity in 2015, per FERC, op. cit. note 87, and added a net of 6,573.2 GW of natural gas and decommissioned a net of 14,592.5 MW of coal-fired capacity, per US EIA, Electric Power Monthly with Data for December 2015, op. cit. note 87, Table 6.1. The country added 7,260 MW of solar PV for a total of 25.6 GW, from GTM Research and SEIA, US Solar Market Insight: 2015 Year-in-Review, Executive Summary (Washington, DC: March 2016), p. 4; added 110 MW of CSP capacity, from EIA, op. cit. note 87; and added 8,598 MW of wind power capacity from AWEA, “US Wind Industry 2015 Annual Market Update: US Wind Power Capacity and Generation Growth in 2015” (Washington, DC: April 2016), Note that both FERC and EIA report lower capacity additions for solar PV and wind power because they omit plants with capacity below 1 MW. All renewables accounted for 62.9% of power capacity added in 2015, led by wind (7,977 MW) and solar (2,042 MW), from FERC, op. cit. note 87. Note, however, that FERC data include only 2,042 MW of solar power capacity (solar PV plus CSP), and thus exclude a majority of the solar PV capacity reportedly installed in 2015.
  101. Includes estimated generation from distributed solar PV generation and based on data from US EIA, Electric Power Monthly with Data for December 2015, op. cit. note 87, Table ES1.B.
  102. See Market and Industry Trends chapter.
  103. Costa Rican Electricity Institute, cited in “Costa Rica boasts 99% renewable energy in 2015,” Agence France Presse, 18 December 2015, Costa Rica generated almost all (99%) of its electricity with renewable energy, including hydro (about 75%), geothermal, wind, biomass and solar, from idem. For Costa Rica, see also Umair Irfan, “German model hard to follow, even for Germans,” E&E News, 12 May 2016, Uruguay share of 92.8% in 2015, from Uruguay Secretary of Energy, Ministerio de Industria, Energía y Minería, personal communication with REN21, 29 April 2016. Chile has rapidly surpassed targets, starting with one calling for 10% renewables by 2024, which it replaced in 2013 with a target of 20% by 2024 (target surpassed in 2015), from Lucas Furlano, Fundacion Bariloche, Argentina, personal communication with REN21, 4 April 2016; see also Comité Consultivo de Energía 2050, Hoja de Ruta 2050: Hacia una Energía Sustentable e Inclusiva Para Chile (Santiago: September 2015),
  104. See Market and Industry Trends chapter. Lack of transmission capacity from Rafael Figueiredo and Larry B. Pascal,New developments in Brazil’s solar power sector,” Renewable Energy World, 18 February 2016, In Brazil, lack of sufficient transmission lines in areas with the greatest wind power potential is one of the key barriers to development, and Mexico faces transmission-related challenges, from GWEC, op. cit. note 28, pp. 31, 59.
  105. See Market and Industry Trends chapter.
  106. Ibid.
  107. Ibid.
  108. Ibid.
  109. Australia added 935 MW for a total of 5,065 MW, from IEA PVPS, op. cit. note 87, p. 18; “Australian solar industry celebrates the new year by ticking over 1.5m PV systems and one solar panel per person,” SunWiz, undated,
  110. Alicia Webb, Clean Energy Council Australia, personal communication with REN21, April 2016.
  111. Samoa from GWEC, op. cit. note 28, p. 16; Masdar, “The UAE inaugurates three micro grid solar plants in Fiji,” press release (Abu Dhabi: 18 February 2015),
  112. Middle East Solar Industry Association, Middle East Solar Outlook for 2016 (Dubai: 2016), p. 3,
  113. See Market and Industry Trends chapter.
  114. Mackay Miller et al., Status Report on Power System Transformation: A 21st Century Power Partnership Report (Golden, CO: NREL, May 2015), pp. iv–ix, See also Sidebar 7 in GSR 2014. With regard to markets, the merit dispatch order is challenged by near-zero marginal cost renewables eating into wholesale prices, one of the reasons that EU utilities lose money, from Nico Tyabji, BNEF, personal communication with REN21, 9 April 2016. By one estimate, the aggregated profits of 15 of the largest European power companies (including EDF, Enel, ENGIE, E.ON, RWE, Iberdrola, Vattenfall, EDP, Statkraft and Fortum) were close to zero or negative in 2015, compared with billions of euros in 2010. These companies reduced their fossil fuel power portfolio by something in the range of 20–25 GW and increased their non-hydro renewables portfolio by about 5 GW (mainly wind power, but increasingly solar PV as well), from Romain Zissler, Japan Renewable Energy Foundation, personal communication with REN21, 7 April 2016. See, for example, Bernd Radowitz, “RE shine, but fossils force RWE to write-downs and lower guidance,” Recharge News, 17 February 2016,
  115. Many players are investing in renewable energy at home as long as renewables investment does not interfere with their existing and often written-off assets; they also are investing in renewables in other countries, where they are competing with local incumbents, from Rainer Hinrichs-Rahlwes, EREF, personal communication with REN21, 4 March 2016. Adapting business models, by consolidating or splitting (e.g., E.ON), from Tyabji, op. cit. note 114. Renewables face a barrier when competing against existing power capacity, causing a bottleneck that requires new regulations and changes to utility models, from Teske, op. cit. note 14.
  116. See, for example, Evan Vaughan, “Utility executives in broad agreement: the Clean Power Plan should remain,” AWEA, 23 February 2016,; Tom Käckenhoff, Christoph Steitz, and Vera Eckert, “Exclusive: Germany’s RWE bets big on wind and solar in corporate overhaul,” Reuters, 3 December 2015,; Ian Clover, “Enel moves into Indian market with acquisition of a stake in Bharat,” PV Magazine, 25 September 2015,; Jessica Shankleman, “Enel targets Peru with $400 million of wind solar investments,” Renewable Energy World, 22 February 2016,; Tara Patel, “France utility considers acquisitions to expand in renewables markets,” Renewable Energy World, 28 April 2015,; Anna Hirtenstein, “Enel has ambitions to become world’s first giant green utility,” Bloomberg, 19 November 2015,; Gavin Bade, “How America’s largest power company plans to become a leading renewables developer,” Utility Dive, 30 June 2015,; Tino Andresen, “RWE’s u-turn on splitting forced by Merkel’s love of green power,” Bloomberg, 1 December 2015,; Christoph Steitz, “RWE takes minority stake in Conergy,” Reuters, 17 March 2015,; “Vattenfall plans wind splurge,” RENews, 2 May 2015,; Karl-Erik Stromsta, “Heavy RE emphasis as Enel plots the next five years,” Recharge News, 20 March 2015,
  117. Eric Martinot, “Grid integration of renewable energy: flexibility, innovation, experience,” Annual Review of Environment and Resources 2016, February 2016 (prepublication version),; Meredith Younghein and Eric Martinot, Beyond 33% Renewables: Grid Integration Policy for a Low-Carbon Future (Sacramento, CA: California Public Utilities Commission, November 2015),; Miller et al., op. cit. note 114, pp. iv–ix.
  118. Miller et al., op. cit. note 114, pp. iv–ix.
  119. Ibid.; Martinot, op. cit. note 117.
  120. Martinot, op. cit. note 114.
  121. Eric Martinot, Grid Integration of Renewables in China: Learning from the Cases of California, Germany, and Denmark, A White Paper for the China Variable-Generation Integration Group (Beijing: May 2015),; Martinot, op. cit. note 114. Overall, grids are operating better than expected with rising renewable energy shares, even in developing countries, per Sargsyan, op. cit. note 1. Grid operators in Denmark, “who 15 years ago would have considered it impossible to run the grid stably with three-fifths renewable supply, now achieve this routinely. They have become among the world’s most adept at integrating diverse, distributed, often variable, renewable resources. As a result, Danish electricity supply is the most reliable in Europe,” from Laurie Guevara-Stone, “A small country goes big with renewables: Denmark’s goal to be fossil fuel free,” RMI Outlet, 2 March 2016,
  122. New record-breaking year for Danish wind power,” Energinet, 15 January 2016,; Portugal from ENTSO-E Data Portal, Note that solar PV met 23.2% of demand in the Portuguese mainland and 22.1% including Portuguese Autonomous Regions, from Susan Serodio, Associação Portuguesa de Energias Renováveis (APREN), Portugal, personal communication with REN21, 6 April 2016. Uruguay Secretary of Energy, Ministerio de Industria, Energía y Minería, personal communication with REN21, 29 April 2016; Terna, cited in Ilias Tsagas, “Solar PV provides 7.8 percent of Italy’s electricity in 2015,” Renewable Energy World, 11 February 2016,; Greece based on preliminary data from ΛΕΙΤΟΥΡΓΟΣ ΑΓΟΡΑΣ ΗΛΕΚΤΡΙΚΗΣ ΕΝΕΡΓΕΙΑΣ A.E., Μηνιαίο Δελτίο Ειδικού Λογαριασμού ΑΠΕ & ΣΗΘΥΑ (Pireas: December 2015), provided by Ioannis Tsipouridis, R.E.D. Pro Consultants S.A., Athens, personal communication with REN21, 25 April 2016; Germany is share of gross electricity consumption and a preliminary statistic, from BMWi, Erneuerbare Energien in Deutschland…, op. cit. note 87.
  123. Energinet, cited in Bec Crew, “Denmark just generated 140% of its electricity demand from wind power,” Science Alert, 15 July 2015,; Clara Guibourg, “Germany just set a new record in renewable energy, with solar, wind, biomass and hydro accounting for 78pc of the country’s energy consumption,”, 31 July 2015,; Irfan, op. cit. note 103. In the United States, wind power reliably met more than 43% of electricity demand in Texas at one point, and 18.4% of ERCOT’s (the state’s primary grid operator) total demand in November, from AWEA, “American wind power breezes past 70-gigawatt milestone,” 21 December 2015, Records also were met in other US regions in 2015 and early 2016, from Michael Goggin, “The records keep falling: more new highs in wind energy output,” AWEA, 23 February 2016,, from Herman K. Trabish, “Kauai co-op integrates over 70% solar, 90% renewables four times in January,” Utility Dive, 4 February 2016,, and from Chris Tanaka, “Kauai hits renewable energy milestone,” Hawaii News Now, 3 February 2016,
  124. China, India and South Africa from Martinot, op. cit. note 117. For example, China has worked to strengthen and extend transmission networks and to make coal plants more flexible; India has enacted measures that include transmission planning, forecasting of renewable output, strengthening transmission corridors for wind power, and regulatory measures for operation and scheduling of power markets; and South Africa is working to integrate a growing share of distributed solar power and to make its coal plants more flexible, all from idem, p. 5. Brazil from Steve Sawyer, GWEC, personal communication with REN21, April 2016. See also Max Dupuy and Ranjit Bharvirkar, “Renewables in China & India: how two Asian giants struggle with inflexible power system operations,” Utility Dive, 26 April 2016, For China, see also Barbara A. Finamore, “Big plans for integrating renewable energy into China’s electricity grid,” Huffington Post, 9 March 2016,
  125. For further details, see, for example: Eric Martinot, op. cit. note 117; Younghein and Martinot, op. cit. note 117; Martinot, op. cit. note 117; Miller et al., op. cit. note 114, pp. iv–ix. For examples of expanded transmission capacity in 2015, see, for example: David A. Lieb, “Renewable energy efforts stymied by transmission roadblocks,” Associated Press, 22 December 2015,; Julien Toyer, “Brazil alternative energy projects threatened by Abengoa’s woes,” Reuters, 9 December 2015,; BMWi, “Offshore-Netzausbau auf Kurs: Mehr Ausbau, geringe Haftungsumlage,” press release (Berlin: 19 October 2015), Japan started four transmission line projects to boost wind power capacity in Hokkaido and Tohoku, from Steve Sawyer, GWEC, personal communication with REN21, 29 October 2015; Ilias Tsagas, “Chile’s new 600km long transmission line can boost renewables,” PV Magazine, 11 December 2015,; Jim Polson, “New York backs new transmission line to ease power prices, access renewable energy,” Renewable Energy World, 18 December 2015,; Monica Heger, “Scotland and Ireland consider a linked renewable energy future,” Spectrum IEEE, 25 September 2015,; “ABB wins $300m order to improve grid reliability in China,” Power Technology, 16 October 2015,; “Alstom to build HVDC VSC converter stations for France-Italy link,” T&D World Magazine, 10 September 2015,; Smiti Mittal, “India expands work on renewable energy transmission network,” CleanTechnica, 19 August 2015,; “ABB plays it smart in Sweden,” Renews Biz, 8 May 2015,; Ilias Tsagas, “Jordan to upgrade its network; accommodate more renewables,” PV Magazine, 30 October 2015,
  126. ABB, “Skagerrak: An excellent example of the benefits that can be achieved through interconnections,”, viewed 1 May 2016; Zacks Equity Research, “ABB deploys Skagerrak 4 Link, sets new HVDC record – analyst blog,” Yahoo Finance, 13 January 2015, See also Paul Brown, “Norway pumps up ‘green battery’ plan for Europe,” Climate News Network, 26 July 2015,
  127. IHA, “Briefing: 2016 Key Trends in Hydropower” (London: March 2016), p. 3, Phase II of the project, completed in 2015 according to some sources, increased the solar PV capacity at the plant from 320 MW to 850 MW. The solar PV plant is coupled directly to one of the four hydropower turbines, and an advanced-control system allows the turbine to regulate solar PV supply variability before dispatching to the grid, minimising the grid’s need for spinning capacity, maximising solar PV utilisation, and conserving water. See also State Power Investment Corporation, “World’s largest hydro/PV hybrid project synchronized,” 31 December 2014,
  128. Miller et al., op. cit. note 114, p. 44. Note that Spain’s system operator REE is able to control the dispatch of up to 96% of the country’s wind power fleet, from idem, p. 44. See also “Renewables key to grid stability,” Renews Biz, 21 May 2015,
  129. FS–UNEP Centre and BNEF, op. cit. note 41, p. 39.
  130. Ibid. p. 36. See also AECOM Australia Pty Ltd, op. cit. note 73; Herman K. Trabish, “Primer: The now and future impacts of energy storage,” Utility Dive, 20 October 2015,; Aloke Gupta, “Two years in energy storage: then and now,” Greentech Media, 14 October 2015,; Brian Eckhouse, “Batteries gaining favor over gas peaker plants in California,” Renewable Energy World, 22 December 2015,
  131. Figure of 145 GW of pumped storage from IHA, op. cit. note 127, pp. 1, 3.
  132. See, for example, AECOM Australia Pty Ltd, op. cit. note 73; Andrew Burger, “France continues exploring energy storage,” Renewable Energy World, 1 July 2015,; Eckhouse, op. cit. note 130; Tweed, “7 energy storage stories you might have missed in 2015,” op. cit. note 73; Becky Beetz, “US, Japan and South Korea to install 1.4 GW of energy storage between 2015-16,” PV Magazine, 23 November 2015,; “Profiling stand-out renewable energy projects worldwide,” Renewable Energy World Magazine, November/December 2015, p. 38; William Steel, “Europe’s largest battery energy storage project opens in Feldheim, Germany,” CleanTechnica, 21 September 2015,; Jeff St. John, “Primus Power raises $25m to bring flow batteries to Kazakhstan,” Greentech Media, 9 September 2015, Developing country projects from, for example, Mike Stone, “Kenya’s storage market is budding,” Greentech Media, 14 September 2015,; China and India from IRENA, Battery Storage for Renewables: Market Status and Technology (Bonn: January 2015), p. 1,
  133. Diane Cardwell, “Tesla ventures into solar power storage for home and business,” New York Times, 1 May 2015,; Thomas Overton, “German battery firm Sonnen moves into US home solar-storage market,” Power, 30 January 2016,; Wade, op. cit. note 73; Katie Fehrenbacher, “Amid a solar boom, batteries draw attention and dollars,” Fortune, 16 July 2015,; Martin, op. cit. note 73; Jason Deign, “Sonnenbatterie launches Solar-Plus-Storage storage system for $10,645,” Greentech Media, 25 November 2015,; Peter Maloney, “New Enphase solar-storage product combines monitoring, control in a single device,” Utility Dive, 2 November 2015,; Katherine Tweed, “Storage roundup: AMS, Stem and JCI expand behind-the-meter offerings,” Greentech Media, 14 October 2015,; growing markets from, for example, FS–UNEP Centre and BNEF, op. cit. note 41, p. 39; James Paton, “Enphase targets $10-$20 million in energy storage sales for Australia, New Zealand,” Renewable Energy World, 22 March 2016,
  134. Australia, Germany and Japan, from FS–UNEP Centre and BNEF, op. cit. note 41, p. 39; Japan also from Kenji Kaneko, “Japanese market for energy storage systems predicted to grow rapidly,” Japan Today, 19 October 2015,; United States from Stephen Lacey, “Thinking differently about where to deploy solar-plus-storage,” Greentech Media, 27 October 2015,, from Diane Cardwell, “Energy storage industry gaining momentum,” New York Times, 25 October 2015,, and from Jeff St. John, “California added 11 MW of behind-the-meter batteries in Q3,” Greentech Media, 4 December 2015,
  135. Tom Randall, “Tesla’s battery grabbed $800 million in its first week,” Bloomberg, 8 May 2015,; Tweed, “7 energy storage stories you might have missed in 2015,” op. cit. note 37; Jeff St. John, “Duke Energy teams up with Green Charge Networks for behind-the-meter batteries,” Greentech Media, 8 December 2015, See also Solar PV section in Market and Industry Trends chapter.
  136. Hinrichs-Rahlwes, op. cit. note 14.
  137. Ibid. See also Temur Tatishvili, “Energy Union: Advancing the integration of European energy markets,” The Financial, 8 June 2015,
  138. BMWi, An Electricity Market for Germany’s Energy Transition, White Paper (Berlin: 2015), cited in Martinot, op. cit. note 117. The resulting draft law was presented and, as of early March 2016, was about to be discussed and decided in Parliament, from Hinrichs-Rahlwes, op. cit. note 115.
  139. Younghein and Martinot, op. cit. note 117. Note that other US states integrating large shares of variable renewables include Texas and Colorado, from Edward Klump, “Texas, Colo. show how to integrate renewables as carbon plan looms – report,” Environment & Energy News, 10 June 2015,
  140. FTI Consulting, Global Wind Market Update—Demand & Supply 2015 (London: 2016), Wind Farm Owner-Operators, p. 2. Fewer and fewer developers are controlling more and more projects, from Teske, op. cit. note 14.
  141. Towards the end of 2015, the Wiki-Solar Database included over 5,000 utility-scale projects (defined as 4 MWac and up) that represented more than 120 GWAC of solar generating capacity worldwide, from Wiki-Solar, “The Wiki-Solar Database,”, viewed 29 March 2016; figures of 13.5 GW and at least 33 from Denis Lenardic, pvresources, personal communication with REN21, 29 February and 6 March 2016.
  142. For CSP, see relevant section in Market and Industry Trends chapter; FTI Consulting, Global Wind Market Update-Demand & Supply 2015 Report (London: April 2016), Technology Overview.
  143. Bill Girling, IHA, personal communication with REN21, 6 April 2016.
  144. In Bangladesh the solar home system market has grown at an astounding 60% compound,” Janamot24, 15 April 2015,; Pantho Rahaman, “Bangladesh aims to be world’s ‘first solar nation,’” Reuters, 25 January 2015,; IRENA, Off-Grid Renewable Energy Systems: Status and Methodological Issues (Abu Dhabi: 2015),; Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania from M-KOPA, “300,000 East African homes now on M-KOPA,” press release (Nairobi: 13 January 2016),; China, India and Nepal from Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation (MOSPI), India Energy Statistics Report 2015 (Delhi: 26 March 2015),; Brazil from ANEEL, provided by Camila Ramos, Clean Energy Latin America, Brazil, personal communication with REN21, 10 April 2016; Guyana from “6000 homes in hinterland to receive solar panels,” Guyana Times, 26 February 2015,
  145. IEA Renewable Energy Technology Deployment (RETD), RE-PROSUMERS: Residential Prosumers – Drivers and Policy Options (Paris: September 2014), See also Solar PV section in Market and Industry Trends chapter.
  146. United Nations Industry Development Organization, Industrial Prosumers of Renewable Energy: Contribution to Inclusive and Sustainable Industrial Development (Vienna: 2015),
  147. See, for example, IndustRE website,, viewed 3 May 2016; European Commission Joint Research Centre, Institute for Energy and Transport, “IndustrRE,”, viewed 3 May 2016.
  148. Island and other remote communities from, for example: Rocky Mountain Institute and Carbon War Room, Renewable Microgrids: Profiles from Islands and Remote Communities Across the Globe (Boulder, CO: November 2015),; Jen MacCormack, “Renewable microgrids: a solution for remote communities,” EarthTechling, 13 January 2016,; Erica Martinson, “Alaska’s rural energy microgrids offer a prototype for powering the world,” Alaska Dispatch News, 15 February 2016,; Harald Schützeichel, “Off-grid is booming! But which off-grid industry exactly?” Sun Connect, 11 November 2015, Malaysia and other developing countries from, for example: Jason Deign, “Inverter capabilities are the biggest limitation facing all-renewable microgrids,” Greentech Media, 28 September 2015,; Global Network on Energy for Sustainable Development (GNESD), Renewable Energy-based Rural Electrification: The Mini-Grid Experience from India, prepared by The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) (New Delhi: 2014),; REN21, SADC Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Status Report (Paris: 2015), Energy independence and more-resilient from, for example: George M. Walsh, “Driven by power outages and savings, towns look to microgrid,” Associated Press, 7 February 2016,; Bob Fesmire, “Beyond backup power: The state of New York kicks off a competition that highlights the multi-faceted benefits of microgrids,” ABB, 20 August 2015,; Robert Walton, “Inside the nation’s first renewables-plus-storage microgrid,” Utility Dive, 6 July 2015,; Dick Munson, “Coast to coast and across the electric system, microgrids provide benefits to all,” Renewable Energy World, 14 May 2015,; Julia Pyper, “US microgrid capacity will more than double by 2020 – and include a lot more renewables,” Greentech Media, 23 June 2015,; Dan Boyce, “Military marches forward with microgrids,” net (Nebraska’s PBS and NPR Stations), 4 September 2015,
  149. See, for example, Solar PV and Wind Power sections in Market and Industry Trends chapter.
  150. Tetsunari Iida, ISEP, Japan, “Energy democracy: accelerating structural energy change,” presentation at the International Symposium on Community Wind Power, WWEA, Bonn, Germany, 26 January 2016,; Peter Rae, “Australia – status quo, problems and solutions,” presentation at International Symposium, idem; Cheryl Katz, “Surge in renewables remakes California’s energy landscape,” Yale e360 Digest, 26 May 2015,
  151. Northern European countries include Belgium, Denmark, Germany, the Netherlands and Sweden, from European Commission, “Spreading the Model of Renewable Energy Cooperatives,” 18 March 2015,; Adilya Zaripova, “Finland to add more PV using community solar model,” PV Magazine, 29 April 2016,
  152. Long traditions from Boris Gotchev, “Civic participation in the Energiewende: what Germany can learn from Denmark,” EnergyTransition, 2 March 2015,; slowdowns from Chris Cooper, “A German energy crowd-funding start-up that aims to make community energy easy,” One Step Off the Grid, 29 October 2015,; Paul Monaghan, “The highs and lows of community energy across Europe,” Renewables International, 21 January 2016,; Hinrichs-Rahlwes, op. cit. note 14.
  153. See, for example: Julia Pyper, “Apple tackles supply-chain emissions with 2GW Clean Energy Initiative in China,” Greentech Media, 22 October 2015,; Samantha Page, “9 massive US companies pledge to go 100% renewable,” Think Progress, 23 September 2015,; Michael Graham Richard, “IKEA to invest $680m in renewable energy to be ‘energy independent’ by 2020,” Tree Hugger, 18 June 2015,; GWEC, “Global businesses turn to wind power,” press release (Brussels: 15 June 2015),; Feifei Shen, “Google to provide seed funding for renewable energy in Asia,” Renewable Energy World, 7 April 2016,
  154. Business Renewable Center, BRC Newsletter, January 2016,; Paolo Natali and Lily Donge, “5 ways to sustain the corporate renewables market,” RMI Outlet, 2 March 2016,; David Labrador, “Lockheed Martin signs its first major renewables deal for 30 MW of solar,” RMI Outlet, 5 February 2016,; David Labrador, “First-time buyers are dominating corporate renewable purchasing,” RMI Outlet, 17 February 2016,; Peter Bronski, “5 major themes facing corporate renewable energy purchasing today,” RMI Outlet, 25 November 2015,
  155. PPAs and leases from Sarah Beth Penndorf, “The renewable energy market is evolving. Here’s how,” RMI Outlet, 2 November 2015,; developing their own from Cheryl Katz, “Surge in renewables remakes California’s energy landscape,” Yale e360 Digest, 26 May 2015,; Brian Eckhouse, “Google buys 781 MW of wind, solar power in three nations,” Renewable Energy World, 3 December 2015,; 25x’25, “Major global insurer enters US renewables market,” op. cit. note 62.
  156. Labrador, “Lockheed Martin signs…,” op. cit. note 154. For other industrial and manufacturing companies, see Christina Nunez, “These old-school companies are going big with solar and wind,” National Geographic, 7 March 2016,
  157. Municipalities from, for example, “Which US cities lead on renewable energy use?” Sustainable Business, 30 October 2015,; US military from, for example, “Navy signs agreement for largest purchase of renewable energy by federal entity,” Solar Today, 20 November 2015,, and from Camille von Kaenel, “Energy security drives US military to renewables,” Scientific American, 16 March 2016,; mines from, for example, Thomas Hillig, “Solar-, wind-diesel hybrid plants at remote mines as a target for investors,” Renewable Energy World, 4 November 2015,, and from Thomas Hillig, “COP21: THEnergy sees mining companies prepare action plans against carbon measures at the Paris Climate Conference,” Renewable Energy World, 30 November 2015,; Chile from Junko Movellan, “The 2016 Global PV Outlook: US and Asian markets strengthened by policies to reduce CO2,” Renewable Energy World Magazine, January/February 2016, pp. 34–40.
  158. For Australia, see, for example, GreenPower website,, and EnergyAustralia, “Green Energy,” Countries in Europe have included Austria, Belgium (Flanders), Finland, Germany, the Netherlands, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom, per Joß Bracker, Öko-Institute e.V., personal communication with REN21, 11 May 2015.
  159. Eric O’Shaughnessy, NREL, personal communication with REN21, 14 April 2016; Eric O’Shaughnessy et al., Status and Trends in the US Voluntary Green Power Market (2014 Data) (Golden, CO: NREL, October 2015), The number of customers purchasing green power was down more than 9% relative to 2013, to 4.9 million, from idem. Sales continued to rise while the number of participants has fallen, which may indicate a trend towards fewer customers making larger green power purchases, such as non-residential customers making very large green power purchases through PPAs. O’Shaughnessy, op. cit. this note.
  160. See, for example, CleanEdge, A Status Report on Rising Commitments Among Corporations and Governments to Reach 100% Renewables See also Policy Landscape chapter.
  161. See, for example: Laurie Guevara-Stone, “Top 12 clean energy developments of 2015,” RMI Outlet, 5 January 2015,;; Claire Trageser, “How will San Diego reach its 100% renewable energy goal?” KPBS, 8 January 2016,; Greg Alvarez, “Oregon decides to go 50 percent renewable energy,” AWEA, 3 March 2016,
  162. “All electricity in Austria’s largest state now produced from renewables,” Agence France-Presse, 5 November 2015,; “Lower Austria claims 100% renewable electricity,” CleanTechnica, 11 November 2015,
  163. German state from Craig Morris, “Two down, 14 to go,” Renewables International, 7 April 2016,; Andrea Reimer, “100% renewable energy: the new normal,” Huffington Post, 24 April 2015,; Glenn Meyers, “Aspen stands tall as third US city achieves 100% renewable electricity,” CleanTechnica, 15 September 2015,; 100% Renewables website,; GO100% Renewable Energy website,
  164. IEA, Medium-Term Renewable Energy Market Report 2015, op. cit. note 31.
  165. Figure of less than 1% from IEA, Electricity Information, 2016 preliminary edition (Paris: 2014).
  166. IEA, Heating Without Global Warming 2014 (Paris: 2014).
  167. Weiss, op. cit. note 40.
  168. IEA, Medium-Term Renewable Energy Market Report 2015, op. cit. note 31.
  169. Ibid.
  170. Weiss, op. cit. note 40.
  171. Ibid.
  172. The renewable share in buildings is estimated to be 7% and in industry 10%, per IEA, op. cit. note 36. The World Economic Outlook, by contrast, estimates the renewable share in buildings to be 10% and in industry 10% in 2013, per IEA, op. cit. note 2.
  173. IEA, Medium-Term Renewable Energy Market Report 2015, op. cit. note 31.
  174. Lex Bosselaar, Netherlands Enterprise Agency (RVO), personal communication with REN21, 24 February 2016.
  175. Weiss, op. cit. note 40; copper industry from Bosselaar, op. cit. note 174.
  176. Weiss, op. cit. note 40; Bosselaar, op. cit. note 174; growing markets from Bärbel Epp, solrico, personal communication with REN21, 13 April 2016
  177. John W. Lund and Tonya L. Boyd, “Direct utilization of geothermal energy 2015 worldwide review,” Geothermics, vol. 60 (2016), pp. 66–93, Table 6.
  178. IEA, Medium-Term Renewable Energy Market Report 2015, op. cit. note 31; solar thermal trends from Weiss, op. cit. note 40
  179. Walter Hasslinger, Bioenergy 2020+, personal communication with REN21, 16 March 2016; traditional use of bioenergy from IEA, Southeast Asia Energy Outlook (Paris: 2013).
  180. IEA, op. cit. note 2. India’s industrial sector supplied roughly 20% of its heat demand with biomass in 2014, largely from agricultural residues.
  181. Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves (GACC), Results Report 2014 (Washington, DC: 2014),
  182. European Commission, “Commission proposes new rules on gas and a heating and cooling strategy,” 16 February 2016,; IEA, op. cit. note 2.
  183. IEA, Medium-Term Renewable Energy Market Report 2015, op. cit. note 31.
  184. Bosselaar, op. cit. note 174; boilers from Michael Nast, DLR, Germany, personal communication with REN21, 3 March 2016. In Germany, for example, market shares of oil boilers increased in 2015 (up to 8.5% from 6.5% in 2014) at the expense of biomass boilers (down to 4.2% from 5.3% in 2014). Official records of the share of renewable energy in the final energy demand for heating and cooling show an increase, but data are influenced by changes in accounting methods and addition of biogenic solid fuels of the tertiary sector that were previously omitted. As such, data increases do not accurately reflect the current state of the market.
  185. Burkhard Sanner, European Geothermal Energy Council, personal communication with REN21, 23 March 2016; Steve Hodgson, “Energy from the Earth, geothermal district heat,” Decentralized Energy, 12 August 2015,; recovery of residential biomass heating systems in Europe from Hasslinger, op. cit. note 179.
  186. Thomas Novak, European Heat Pump Association, personal communication with REN21, 2 May 2016.
  187. IEA, Medium-Term Renewable Energy Market Report 2015, op. cit. note 31; numbers based on 2013 data. US estimates from IEA, op. cit. note 2.
  188. IEA, Medium-Term Renewable Energy Market Report 2015, op. cit. note 31.
  189. Bruce Dorminey, “Low heating oil prices depress domestic wood pellet market,” Renewable Energy World, 29 February 2016,; solar thermal from IEA SHC, Solar Heat Worldwide (Paris: 2015).
  190. IEA, op. cit. note 2.
  191. Bosselaar, op. cit. note 174; Bärbel Epp, solrico, personal communication with REN21, 13 April 2016.
  192. Bärbel Epp, “Big ups and downs on global market,” Solar Thermal World, ٢٦ April ٢٠١٦,; UNEP, Solar Water Heating Market Evaluation – Case Study of Mexico (Nairobi: November 2015),
  193. Bärbel Epp, “Latin America on its way to solar thermal quality standards,” Solar Thermal World, 31 August 2015,
  194. IEA, op. cit. note 2.
  195. Bosselaar, op. cit. note 174; Epp, op. cit. note 191.
  196. Bärbel Epp, “Lesotho, Mozambique and Zimbabwe: solar thermal policies under development,”
  197. Solar Thermal World, 10 March 2016, Yacob Mulugetta, University College London, personal communication with REN21, 11 December 2015.
  198. GACC, op. cit. note 181.
  199. Bosselaar, op. cit. note 174.
  200. Eric Wesoff, “Glasspoint is building the world’s largest solar project in an Omani oil field,” Greentech Media, 8 July 2015,
  201. As of 2015 the UAE had three LEED Platinum certified buildings with solar cooling systems – examples of green building certification supporting solar cooling. Bärbel Epp, “UAE: Green buildings certification and impact on solar technology development,” Solar Thermal World, 1 September 2015,
  202. European Solar Thermal Industry Federation, “Energy labeling for heating devices – a challenge and an opportunity for dealers and installers,” 25 September 2015,
  203. Weiss, op. cit. note 40. For more than 30 years, Denmark has required its communities to plan for a reliable and low-cost heat supply, which has had a positive influence on both the development of district heating systems in the country (now more than 60% of Danish households are supplied by district heat) and the increased use of renewable energy in those systems. Nast, op. cit. note 184.
  204. Biomass-based district heating information from District Energy, “Duo commit to investing £10m on Wick district heating system,” 3 March 2016,, and from District Energy, “$11.9 million funding agreed for Swedish biomass CHP plant,” 29 December 2015,; geothermal from Sanner, op. cit. note 185.
  205. Lily Riahi et al., District Energy in Cities (Paris: UNEP, 2015),; Asian Development Bank, “China, People’s Republic of: Low carbon district heating project in Hohhot in Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region,”, viewed 14 April 2016.
  206. Weiss, op. cit. note 40.
  207. Liuhua Gao, Jun Zhao, and Zipeng Tang, “A review on borehole seasonal solar thermal energy storage,” Energy Procedia, vol. 70 (2015), pp. 209–18; Natural Resources Canada, “Drake Landing Solar Community, 2012 Backgrounders,”
  208. Thomas Novak, European Heat Pump Association, personal communication with REN21, 13 April 2016; Ralf Dott and Thomas Afjei, 11th IEA Heat Pump Conference 2014, 12–16 May 2014, Montréal, Canada.
  209. Uli Jakob, Green Chiller Verband für Sorptionskälte e.V., personal communication with REN21, 22 April 2016.
  210. Weiss, op. cit. note 40.
  211. Ibid.
  212. Hasslinger, op. cit. note 179.
  213. Bosselaar, op. cit. note 174.
  214. Steve Hodgson, “District cooling heads east and south,” Decentralized Energy, 3 March 2015,; District Energy, “Qatar Cool starts capacity growth on its third district cooling plant in West Bay,” 20 May 2015,
  215. Bosselaar, op. cit. note 174.
  216. IEA, Medium-Term Renewable Energy Market Report 2015, op. cit. note 31.
  217. See, for example, Republic of Seychelles, Intended Nationally Determined Contribution (INDC) Under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) (September 2015),
  218. European Commission, “Commission proposes new rules on gas and a heating and cooling strategy,” 16 February 2016,
  219. Value of 28% is based on 2012 data, per IEA, op. cit. note 36.
  220. Ibid. Data are 2012 values.
  221. Ibid.
  222. IEA, Medium-Term Renewable Energy Market Report 2015, op. cit. note 31.
  223. Partnership on Sustainable Low Carbon Transport (SLoCaT), “Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs) Offer Opportunities for Ambitious Action on Transport and Climate Change,” 24 November 2015,
  224. SLoCaT, “About SloCaT,”, viewed 21 April 2016; Global Fuel Economy Initiative, “About GFEI,”, viewed 21 April 2016.
  225. See Bioenergy section in Market and Industry Trends chapter; production increased from F.O. Licht/Licht Interactive Data, “Fuel Ethanol: World Production by Country,” 2016, and “Biodiesel: World Production, by Country,” 2016.
  226. See Bioenergy section in Market and Industry Trends chapter.
  227. Ibid. Advanced bioenergy requirements from Tom Ewing, “Bioenergy in 2016: powered up, hoping to run,” Renewable Energy World Magazine, January/February 2016.
  228. Federation National de Biocumbustables de Colombia website,, viewed 21 April 2016.
  229. European Commission, “Land use change,” 2015,
  230. Meghan Sapp, “Egypt looking to fly on aviation biofuel next year,” Biofuels Digest, 16 July 2015,; Japan from Tom Redmond and Yuko Takeo, “This pond scum may fuel your airplane,” Bloomberg, 7 July 2015,; Netherlands from SkyNRG, “SkyNRG welcomes ABN AMRO as a new customer in the KLM Corporate BioFuel Programme,” press release (Amsterdam: 18 January 2016); United States from Zia Haq, “Renewable jet fuel is taking flight,” US DOE, EERE, 26 August 2015,; “Boeing collaborates with Mexico on sustainable aviation biofuel research and development,” Solar Thermal Magazine, 25 February 2016,
  231. “United Airlines begins regular biofuel use for flights,” Renewable Energy World, 14 March 2016,
  232. Natalie Burg, “How biofuels are powering change in the aviation industry,” Forbes, 21 September 2015,
  233. Meghan Sapp, “Hybrid airplane to fly on algae and solar power from Paris to New York in June,” Biofuels Digest, 15 March 2016,; David Molko and Euan McKirdy, “Solar Impulse 2 lands in California after Pacific Flight,” CNN, 24 April 2016,
  234. US DOE, “Natural gas fueling station locations,”, viewed 7 May 2016; India, Iran and the Netherlands from NGV Global, “Market development in infrastructure,”, viewed 7 May 2016.
  235. The National Agency of Petroleum, Natural Gas and Biofuels established Resolution No. 8 on biomethane on 30 January 2015, per ANEEL, “Fontes de Energia,”, viewed 21 April 2016; Biogas Partner, “New milestone for natural gas in Brazil: biomethane is now regulated,” 11 February 2015,
  236. Huib van Essen, CE Delft, personal communication with REN21, 18 February 2016.
  237. Cornie Huizenga, SLoCaT, personal communication with REN21, 22 December 2015.
  238. Tesla is one such company actively expanding its supercharger network, per Tesla, “Supercharger,”, viewed 21 April 2016.
  239. Victoria Ho, “China starts building its largest electric car solar charging complex,” Mashable, 21 October 2015,; EV grid-based solutions from Barbara Finamore, “Big plans for integrating renewable energy into China’s electricity grid,” Huffington Post, 9 March 2016,
  240. Kyocera, “Kyocera expands number of solar recharging stations in Japan as electric vehicle use grows,” press release (Kyoto: 10 December 2015),
  241. Junko Movellan, “100 percent renewable energy charged EV stations allow driving on sunshine,” Renewable Energy World, 25 August 2015,
  242. Jeff St. John, “Southern California utilities to deploy 5,000 EV chargers in first of their kind pilots,” Greentech Media, 1 February 2016.
  243. Laith Abou-Ragheb, “Sun shines on Jordan’s EV dream,” Venture, 3 November 2015,
  244. Nancy Owano, “Electric car charging put to test in Marshall islands,” TechXplore, 21 October 2015,
  245. Peter Nuttall, University of the South Pacific, Fiji, personal communication with REN21, 18 February 2016.
  246. Korean development from Wingship Technology Corps website,, viewed 21 March 2016; German development from Nuttall, op. cit. note 245; biomethane applications from van Essen, op. cit. note 236.
  247. Siemens, “Finland’s first battery-powered ferry represents milestone towards clean shipping,” press release (Nuremberg: 7 March 2016),
  248. Julian Turner, “Running on wind: the Dutch rail network’s renewable revolution,”, 20 August 2015,
  249. Sophie Vorrath, “Canberra light rail to run on 100% renewable energy,” RenewEconomy, 23 June 2015,; Sydney from Giles Parkinson, “NSW seeks renewable energy to power northwest rail line,” RenewEconomy, 22 January 2016,