Last year global capacity for renewable power grew at its fastest pace to date, with almost 22% of power generation coming from clean sources, data in a report from the International energy Agency (IEA) has revealed.
In 2013 global renewable electricity generation rose by an estimated 240 terawatt hours (TWh), a 5% increase on the previous year, taking the total to almost 5,070 TWh. The figure accounts for almost 22% of total power generation across the world.
The growth in the sector means that last year renewables were on a par with natural gas, a source that saw generation decline slightly. However, clean sources remain far behind coal, which is currently almost double as widely used as renewables.
The report adds, “Over the medium term, global renewable electricity generation is projected to grow by almost 45%, or 2,255 TWh, to over 7,310 TWh in 2020 (+5.4% per year). Hydropower, including output from pumped storage, represents about 37% of total growth, followed by onshore wind at 31% of total growth.”
In June it was revealed that clean energy sources generated a fifth of Britain’s electricity between January and March, due to strong performance from the wind and hydro sectors. Earlier this month Germany’s renewable energy sector set a world record, with 31% of the nation’s electricity coming from clean sources. The figures demonstrate the growing importance of renewables.
Despite the positive progress made, the IEA predicts that investment in renewable energy will fall over the years ahead, because of policy uncertainty and falling technology costs. Between now and 2020, an estimated $220 billion (£138bn) is forecast to be invested in the sector each year, compared to the $250 billion (£150bn) in 2013.
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