Renewable Energy
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Global renewable energy policy and multi-stakeholder network, REN21, has released its latest annual ‘Renewables 2016 Global Status Report’, tracing the growth of the resources thus far.

According to the analysis, the global power sector experienced its largest annual increase in capacity in 2015, with significant growth in all regions adding an estimated 147GW.

The year 2015 saw several developments that all have a bearing on renewable energy, including a dramatic decline in global fossil fuel prices, the report noted.

[quote]The REN21 study found that renewables are now established around the world as mainstream sources of energy, highlighting that last year renewable heat capacity increased by approximately 38GWth.

The ‘Renewables 2016 Global Status Report’ claims that both wind and solar photovoltaic (PV) technology had record additions for the second consecutive year, accounting for an estimated 77% of new installations.

The report highlight: “By the end of 2015, renewable capacity in place was enough to supply an estimated 23.7% of global electricity, with hydropower providing about 16.6%.”

REN21 report findings

The study stated that Bangladesh is the world’s largest market for solar home systems, while noting that other developing countries including 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 systems.

Employment in the renewable energy sector, excluding large-scale hydropower, is said to have increased to an estimated 8.1 million jobs, both direct and indirect jobs.

“Solar PV and biofuels provided the largest numbers of renewable energy jobs. Large-scale hydropower accounted for an additional 1.3 million direct jobs. Considering all renewable energy technologies, the leading employers in 2015 were China, Brazil, the US and India,” the RE21 report stated.

Another achievement highlighted in the analysis was that renewable energy accounted for an estimated 4% of global fuel for road transport in the past year.

Support policies

The report further remarked other improvements directed towards the development of renewable energy, citing the vast majority of countries worldwide having had established support policies, influenced by the global effort to mitigate global climate change, an agreement that took place during the COP21 in Paris last year.

“The total number of countries with renewable energy policies increased again in 2015. As of year-end 2015, at least 173 countries had renewable energy targets [not considering INDCs], and an estimated 146 countries had renewable energy support policies, at the national or state/provincial level.

“Policy makers continued to focus predominantly on renewable power generation technologies, particularly solar PV and wind power. As of year-end 2015, 110 jurisdictions at the national or state/provincial level had enacted feed-in policies, making this the most widely adopted regulatory mechanism to promote renewable power,” report said.