Renewable energy

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Renewables now make up almost 29% of global electricity generation

Renewable energy is derived from resources that are replenished on a human timescale; examples include sunlight, wind, rains, waves, tides, geothermal heat and biomass. Renewable energy is used in three main areas: electricity generation, air and water heating and cooling, and transportation. Renewables are also suited to provide off-grid energy solutions in rural and remote areas. The overall production and use of renewable energy usually produce minimal greenhouse gases and have the potential to significantly reduce air pollution compared to hydrocarbon alternatives. Deployment of renewable energy also has potential energy security benefits, with renewable resources spread over wide geographical areas.

In light of the current greenhouse gas-driven warming of the climate and the associated impacts, a global transition to low carbon energy is underway with renewable energy at the forefront. Related technologies are rapidly becoming more efficient and falling in costs; some renewable energy forms like solar PV and onshore wind that once depended heavily on government support are now at or approaching cost-parity with fossil fuel generation. Since most renewables produce electricity, increasing the share of renewable energy in the whole energy system can be achieved by electrifying the heat and transport sectors, in combination with increasing the proportion of electricity provided by renewables. Besides electrification, the transport sector can benefit from biofuels which can substitute for oil products. The heat sector can see further deployment of solar water heating, biomass-fuelled burners and direct geothermal heating. Renewable energy is expected to continue expanding its share in the energy mix, as costs come down, innovative technologies are commercialised, and environmental drivers strengthen. The EU has a target for 32% of all electricity to be generated from renewables by 2030. To meet these climate and sustainability goals, renewable energy deployment must accelerate in all sectors, enabled by policy and markets.

You can find further information below about the technologies, costs and current developments within each of the seven major types of renewables:

Learn more about renewables by reading our Energy Insights.

For the latest news and articles on renewable energy read New Energy World.

View our dedicated Collections on Hydrogen and Offshore Wind.

What's new?

US to boost annual renewables investment to $114bn by 2031

01/02/2023

‘The IRA will completely reshape the renewables supply chain in the US, incentivising the reopening of shuttered facilities as well as provide opportu...

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Bangladesh leaning towards coal-based power

01/02/2023

The report reveals that the share of coal power in the country’s total generation is estimated to reach 12.6% in 2032. In September 2022, the Banglade...

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BP predicts carbon emissions could fall more steeply than estimated previously

01/02/2023

This year’s report explores the key trends and uncertainties surrounding the energy transition out to 2050. The three main scenarios considered – ‘Net...

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AI will accelerate tipping points for crucial green technologies

01/02/2023

The report states that the deployment of low-carbon technologies is being facilitated and accelerated by AI and digital enablers, with key technologie...

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UK could save over £100bn with 100% renewable energy net zero plan

25/01/2023

The report from 100percentrenewableuk, carried out by energy modelling academics at LUT University in Finland, involves hour-by-hour simulation of dif...

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Events and training

Level 1: Certificate in Energy Management Essentials - April 2023

24/04/2023 - 28/04/2023

About: This introductory 5 day classroom course provides a comprehensive, practical overview of the fundamentals of energy management, equipping ...

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All-Energy Exhibition & Conference 2023

10/05/2023 - 11/05/2023

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Level 1: Certificate in Energy Management Essentials - October 2023

02/10/2023 - 06/10/2023

About: This introductory 5 day classroom course provides a comprehensive, practical overview of the fundamentals of energy management, equipping ...

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EI LIVE Maintenance Strategy Fundamentals - October 2023

04/10/2023 - 05/10/2023

In this 2 half-day training course, you will gain the fundamental knowledge and understanding to develop an efficient and effective maintenance plan t...

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Level 3: Advanced Energy Manager

09/10/2023 - 26/02/2024

This 10-day course is an advanced qualification aiming to support experienced energy managers to further advance their careers by gaining the skills a...

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Technical guidance publications

Waste to products – Technology and economic assessment (phase 1)

2022

This document is free to download for registered users.The EMG and Soil Wastes and Groundwater group (SWG) of the EI and Concawe have commissioned E4t...

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Research report: Application of life cycle assessment methodology to the understanding of the energy balance and efficiency of hydrogen value chain building blocks

2022

This document is free to download for registered users.This publication explores the efficiencies of the hydrogen energy system and quantifies the ene...

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EI 1533 Quality assurance requirements for semi-synthetic jet fuel and synthetic blending components (SBC)

2022

EI 1533 provides quality assurance requirements and recommendations for the manufacture of synthetic (jet fuel) blending components (in accordance wit...

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Minimal staffing and lone working: ensuring employee safety and wellbeing in the power sector

2022

This publication is free to download for registered members of this site.This publication provides good practice guidance to help organisations manage...

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Design and operational guidance on cathodic protection of offshore structures, subsea installations and pipelines

2022

This publication provides guidance for the design and operation of cathodic protection (CP) on offshore structures, subsea installations and pipelines...

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