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WEO Week: Electricity sector transitions: policy and finance
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Renewables

Renewables, including solar, wind, hydro, biofuels and others, are at the centre of the transition to a less carbon-intensive and more sustainable energy system.

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Key findings

Change in energy demand and renewables output in electricity, heat and transport, 2019 to 2020

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The resilience of renewables is driven by the electricity sector

In sharp contrast to all other fuels, renewables used for generating electricity will grow by almost 7% in 2020. Global energy demand is set to decline 5% – but long-term contracts, priority access to the grid and continuous installation of new plants are all underpinning strong growth in renewable electricity. This more than compensates for declines in bioenergy for industry and biofuels for transport – mostly the result of lower economic activity. The net result is an overall increase of 1% in renewable energy demand in 2020.

Share of renewables in power generation in the Sustainable Development Scenario, 2000-2030

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Renewable power needs to expand significantly to meet the IEA Sustainable Development Scenario share of half of generation by 2030

In 2019, renewable electricity generation rose 6%, with wind and solar PV technologies together accounting for 64% of this increase. Although the share of renewables in global electricity generation reached almost 27% in 2019, renewable power as a whole still needs to expand significantly to meet the SDS share of almost half of generation by 2030. This requires the rate of annual capacity additions to accelerate.

Reports


The IEA/IRENA Renewables Policies Database provides information on policies and measures taken or planned to encourage the uptake of renewable energy in all IEA and IRENA Member countries and signatories.

Our work

The aim of the Bioenergy TCP is to increase knowledge and understanding of bioenergy systems in order to facilitate the commercialisation and market deployment of environmentally sound, socially acceptable, and cost-competitive, low-carbon bioenergy systems and technologies, and to advise policy and industrial decision makers accordingly.

The SolarPACES TCP supports collaboration to advance development and deployment of concentrating solar thermal technologies. From a system perspective, concentrating solar power (CSP) offers significant advantages. With built-in thermal storage, CSP can improve the flexibility and stability of power systems, provide dispatchable electricity and help integrating more variable renewables.

The Geothermal TCP promotes international collaboration fostering and enhancing the development and sustainable use of geothermal energy. Activities are chiefly directed towards the sharing of information; developing technologies, techniques and best practices for exploration, development and utilisation; and producing and disseminating authoritative geothermal information and data.

The Hydrogen TCP, founded in 1977, works to accelerate hydrogen implementation and widespread utilisation in the areas of production, storage, distribution, power, heating, mobility and industry. The Hydrogen TCP seeks to optimise environmental protection, improve energy security, transform global energy systems and grid management, and promote international economic development, as well as serving as the premier global resource for expertise in all aspects of hydrogen technology.

Hydropwer is the largest source of renewable electricity in the world and it is particularly suited to providing system flexibility. The Hydropower TCP is a global platform for advancing hydropower technology, encouraging the sustainable use of water resources for the development and management of hydropower.

The OES TCP connects organisations and individuals working in the ocean energy sector to accelerate the viability, uptake and acceptance of ocean energy systems in an environmentally acceptable manner. The work of the OES TCP covers all forms of energy generation in which sea water forms the motive power through its physical and chemical properties i.e. wave, tidal range, tidal and ocean currents, ocean thermal energy conversion and salinity gradients.

Established in 1993, the PVPS TCP supports international collaborative efforts to enhance the role of photovoltaic solar energy (PV) as a cornerstone in the transition to sustainable energy systems. The PVPS TCP seeks to serve as a global reference for policy and industry decision makers; to act as an impartial and reliable source of information on trends, markets and costs; and to provide meaningful guidelines and recommended practices for state-of-the-art PV applications.

Through multi-disciplinary international collaborative research and knowledge exchange, as well as market and policy recommendations, the SHC TCP works to increase the deployment rate of solar heating and cooling systems by breaking down the technical and non-technical barriers to increase deployment.

The Wind TCP’s mission is to stimulate co-operation on wind energy research, development, and deployment (RD&D). The Wind TCP provides high quality information and analysis to member governments and commercial sector leaders by addressing technology development, deployment and its benefits, markets, and policy options.