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?

Major renewable projects break ground in Azerbaijan

12/06/2024

Projects include the 445 MW Bilasuvar solar project, the 315 MW Neftchala solar farm and the 240 MW Absheron-Garadagh onshore wind farm.   S...

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Octopus signs ‘world’s biggest’ battery-leasing deal with Gresham House

12/06/2024

The deal – reportedly the biggest of its kind in the world – will connect just over 50% of GRID’s large-scale batteries to Octopus’ technology platfor...

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China solidifies lead in global electrolyser market

12/06/2024

Mainland China installed a total 1 GW of electrolyser capacity in 2023, ‘cementing its position as a world leader in the technology’s adoption’, accor...

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Slow progress in the EU power sector undermining low-carbon transition

12/06/2024

With the EU power sector increasingly under pressure to decarbonise, a new report by enterprise sustainability data services provider GRESB has reveal...

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UN chief calls for a windfall tax and advertising ban for fossil fuels

12/06/2024

Speaking at the American Museum of Natural History in New York on World Environment Day on 5 June, Guterres noted that the European Commission’s Coper...

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Events and training

EI LIVE | Statistical Review of World Energy - global launch webcast

20/06/2024

The Energy Institute is the home of free-to-access global energy statistics. On 20 June it will mark the publication of the EI Statisti...

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EI Fellows on Fusion - hosted by Sir Ian Chapman & the UK Atomic Energy Authority

26/09/2024

This free-of-charge topical event and networking session is open to all Fellows, but registration is essential.

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Level 3: Advanced Energy Manager

30/09/2024 - 04/12/2024

This 9-day course is an advanced qualification aiming to support experienced energy managers to further advance their careers by gaining the skills an...

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Level 1: Certificate in Energy Management Essentials - October 2024

07/10/2024 - 11/10/2024

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

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Technical guidance publications

Guidance on green and low carbon hydrogen production: plant design, construction, operation and maintenance, co-location and other considerations

2024

‘Hydrogen economy’ is an umbrella term used to describe the role that hydrogen plays in the broader economy, including as a fuel, as an en...

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Guidance on green and low carbon hydrogen production: plant design, construction, operation and maintenance, co-location and other considerations

2024

‘Hydrogen economy’ is an umbrella term used to describe the role that hydrogen plays in the broader economy, including as a fuel, as an en...

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Human factors standards for facility design: Early design quick reference guide

2024

Human factors considerations (ergonomics, anthropometry, etc.) are key to good facility design; however, too often human factors is not considered ear...

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Safe systems of work principles for the power generation sector

2024

This is a free download to registered users.  Register and/or log in to download.A safe system of work (SSoW) is a set of procedures to ensu...

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Research report: Global activities in hydrogen development

2024

This report covers various developmental activities across the hydrogen value chain, encompassing production, transportation/distribution, storage, an...

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