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.
of solar energy capacity was added in 2021, leading to more solar capacity than wind capacity worldwide (IRENA)
of new renewables capacity was seen in Asia in 2021 with a huge increase of 121 GW added in China (IRENA)
of global renewable generation capacity came from hydropower in 2021 at 1360 GW, including pumped storage (IRENA)
of operational wind power capacity is available in the UK in 2022, powering the equivalent of around 18,000 homes (RenewableUK)
UK hits major clean energy milestone, while National Grid calls for ‘urgent reform’
Data from National Grid analytics reveals that it has taken 50 years to reach the 1tn kWh milestone and, based on current projections, it is expected ...
Ireland’s first licensing round awards 3 GW of offshore wind
ORESS is an auction-based process which invites renewable energy projects to compete against each other, by bidding as low as possible, in order to wi...
Sustainable aviation fuel continues to take off
US airline operator United has unveiled plans to triple its use of SAF in 2023. It recently began using a blend of SAF on departing flights from San F...
New solar projects to be built in Niger
The plants are set to be located within 20 km of Maradi and Zinder in southern Niger, with an installed capacity of between 50 MW and 100 MW, for a to...
Europe needs over $32tn of investment to reach net zero
The report details a pathway for Europe (comprising the EU, UK, Norway and Switzerland) to reach net zero emissions by 2050, using the lowest cost tec...
Events and training
Managing Ageing Offshore Assets: Adapting for Net-Zero
IMechE event on the challenges engineers face in the operation of offshore assets and equipment close to or beyond their design life, as well as ...
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 ...
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...
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...
EI LIVE Using Reliability Centered Maintenance - December 2023
06/12/2023 - 07/12/2023
This 2 half-day virtual online training course will allow you to optimise your asset maintenance plan with Reliability Centred Maintenance (RCM), a pr...
Technical guidance publications
Waste to products – Technology and economic assessment (phase 1)
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...
Research report: Application of life cycle assessment methodology to the understanding of the energy balance and efficiency of hydrogen value chain building blocks
This document is free to download for registered users.This publication explores the efficiencies of the hydrogen energy system and quantifies the ene...
EI 1533 Quality assurance requirements for semi-synthetic jet fuel and synthetic blending components (SBC)
EI 1533 provides quality assurance requirements and recommendations for the manufacture of synthetic (jet fuel) blending components (in accordance wit...
Design and operational guidance on cathodic protection of offshore structures, subsea installations and pipelines
This publication provides guidance for the design and operation of cathodic protection (CP) on offshore structures, subsea installations and pipelines...
Minimal staffing and lone working: ensuring employee safety and wellbeing in the power sector
This publication is free to download for registered members of this site.This publication provides good practice guidance to help organisations manage...