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?

Mexico’s second largest solar plant commissioned

30/11/2022
The plant, located in the state of Campeche, has a capacity of 300 MW and will supply the state-owned utility Federal Electric Commission (CFE) with c...

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Europe’s biggest battery energy storage system now online

30/11/2022
Developed by Harmony Energy and employing a Tesla two-hour Megapack system, the Pillswood project, near Hull, can store enough electricity to power ar...

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New focus on European energy deals

30/11/2022
Across Europe, countries have stated their ambition to scale up their energy resilience in the wake of Russia’s unjustified military assault on Ukrain...

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Big solar plans unveiled

23/11/2022
Eni and Sonatrach have inaugurated their ‘Solar Lab’ test facility and laid the first stone of a 10 MW photovoltaic (PV) plant in the Bir Rebaa North ...

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G7 must ramp-up green hydrogen market

23/11/2022
The commitment by G7 to reach net zero emissions by 2050 will require a significant deployment of green hydrogen. This also centre-stages the decarbon...

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Events and training

How to design and build an ‘off-grid’ electrical system

08/12/2022
This is an in-person joint event hosted by the Energy Institute and the Institute of Environmental Management and Assessment. 

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Level 1: Certificate in Energy Management Essentials - April 2023

24/04/2023
About: This introductory 5 day classroom course provides a comprehensive, practical overview of the fundamentals of energy management, equipping ...

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Level 1: Certificate in Energy Management Essentials - October 2023

02/10/2023
About: This introductory 5 day classroom course provides a comprehensive, practical overview of the fundamentals of energy management, equipping ...

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Level 3: Advanced Energy Manager

09/10/2023
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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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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