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?

International ‘collaboration gap’ threatens to undermine progress on climate commitments and delay net zero by decades

28/09/2022

Against the backdrop of the energy crisis and the threat of a global food crisis, the inaugural Breakthrough Agenda Report from the International Ener...

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South-east Asia could save $160bn through transition, says IRENA

28/09/2022

The Association of South-East Asian nations (ASEAN) is home to one of the youngest coal power plant fleets in the world. Yet an increasing number of A...

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Mass electrification only possible with heavy investment

28/09/2022

Three quarters (76%) of the 400 senior energy professionals contacted in 75 countries say existing grid infrastructure can’t adequately connect renewa...

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Wind and solar top 10% of global power generation for first time

28/09/2022

However, coal-fired power and emissions jumped to new highs in 2021 as the global economy regained its footing following the COVID-19 pandemic, says B...

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Pakistan’s hydropower projects need reassessment, says IEEFA

28/09/2022

Hydropower has accounted for almost 30% of the power generated in Pakistan over the years, but the country’s long-term goal for it to meet 46% of the ...

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Events and training

Level 3: Advanced Energy Manager

10/10/2022 - 27/02/2023

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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Methane Emissions The need for urgent cuts NOW to avert a Climate Catastrophe

11/10/2022

Carbon dioxide is the greenhouse gas most responsible for heating the planet. There is no substitute for eliminating fossil fuels and halting the rele...

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Energy Storage Fundamentals for Energy Security - November 2022

03/11/2022 - 04/11/2022

This course is also available as a self-paced online course here. This 2-day classroom training course allows you to gain a comprehensive understan...

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EI LIVE Maintenance Strategy Fundamentals - November 2022

07/11/2022 - 15/11/2022

In this 4 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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Key Energy 2022

08/11/2022 - 11/11/2022

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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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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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A site operator's guide to electric vehicle charging equipment at filling stations

2022

This document is aimed at operators of filling stations and those responsible for deciding whether or not to install electric vehicle charging equipme...

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