Renewables now make up 26% of global electricity generation, second after coal

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. In the short term, the EU has a target for 20% of all electricity to be generated from renewables by 2020. However, to meet long-term 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:

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

Learn more about renewables by reading our Energy Insights.

View upcoming consultations and policies on renewables on our Policy Milestones Calendar.

What's new?

Duke Energy and TotalEnergies win US offshore wind energy auction

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The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) offered two lease areas covering 110,091 acres in the Carolina Long Bay area offshore North Carolina and ...

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Renewable power to break another global record in 2022

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The world added a record 295 GW of new renewable power capacity in 2021, overcoming supply chain challenges, construction delays and high raw material...

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San Francisco refinery to be converted to renewable fuels facility

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The project, which recently received approval from Contra Costa County, is expected to cost approximately $850mn and is due to begin commercial operat...

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Vodafone signs deal for power from three new UK solar farms

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When fully operational, the three solar farms in Lincolnshire, Worcestershire and Nottinghamshire, are expected to supply more than 100 GWh/y of renew...

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Energy storage system for Côte d'Ivoire’s first solar plant

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The 37.5 MW-peak plant, owned and operated by CI-Energies, is expected to produce clean electricity for around 30,000 households, avoid the emission o...

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Events and training

EI-YPN Virtual Connect (Nigeria Branch)

28/05/2022
EI-YPN Virtual Connect (Nigeria Branch) EI-YPN Virtual Connect (Nigeria Branch)

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Level 1: Certificate in Energy Management Essentials - October 2022

03/10/2022
About: This introductory 5 day classroom course provides a comprehensive, practical overview of the fundamentals of energy management, equipping ...

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Level 3: Advanced Energy Manager

10/10/2022
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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Energy Storage Fundamentals for Energy Security - November 2022

03/11/2022
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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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

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Guidance on quantified human reliability analysis (QHRA)

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This document is free to download for all registered users of this site.EI Guidance on quantified human reliability analysis (QHRA) (second edition) p...

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Guidance on the management of the hazard of vessel impact with offshore structures

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SafetyOn Good practice guidelines: Planned decommissioning framework for onshore wind turbines

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This publication is free to download for registered members of the site. Please log in to access.The final stage in the life cycle of a wind farm is d...

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