REN21 Reviews Decade of Renewable Energy Progress
UN Photo/Eskinder Debebe
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The Renewable Energy Policy Network for the 21st Century (REN21) has launched ‘The First Decade: 2004-2014 – 10 Years of Renewable Energy Progress,' which documents the evolution of renewables since 2004, measures progress by technology and region, examines lessons learned and offers “a vision for the future.”

REN2110 November 2014:
 The Renewable Energy Policy Network for the 21st Century (REN21) has launched ‘The First Decade: 2004-2014 – 10 Years of Renewable Energy Progress,’ which documents the evolution of renewables since 2004, measures progress by technology and region, examines lessons learned and offers “a vision for the future.”

The report, which was launched in Bonn, Germany, at the REN21 Renewable Academy 2014, presents scenarios illustrating that by 2050, 65-94% of electricity and 30-72% of transport are likely to be met by renewables.

Since 2004, the number of countries promoting renewable energy with direct policy support has tripled, from 48 to over 140, and a growing number of developing and emerging countries are setting renewable energy targets and implementing support policies. The report describes an increase in the global demand for renewable energy over the past decade, and tracks global investment and the evolution of renewable technology uptake, and market and policy development by region.

The report explains that as solar, wind, biomass and other energy sources increase their market share, the ‘levelized cost of energy’ (LCOE, the price at which electricity must be generated from a specific source to break even over the lifetime of the project) is turning out to be an important metric when it come to making decisions regarding new power generation. The report also emphasizes the importance of governments providing strong policy signals to ensure that renewables are central to national energy supply chains.

Renewable energy technologies are not only seen as tools for improving energy security and mitigation and adaptation but also as beneficial investments that reduce dependence on imported fuels, improve local air quality and safety, improve energy access, increase economic development and create jobs. Renewable energy costs have also declined, and several technologies are cost-competitive with conventional generation technologies, even before considering environmental impacts and other externalities. In addition, growth in renewable energy has lead to an increase in the number of manufacturers, the scale of manufacturing, and the number of jobs related to installing and servicing renewable technologies.

The REN21 Renewables Academy, which met from 10-12 November 2014, took stock of renewable energy developments over the past decade and discussed how to further advance the global energy transition using renewables. The meeting addressed: how to achieve 100% renewable energy; renewable energy policy frameworks; appropriate policy design for different stages of market maturity; power sector transformation; boosting renewables for heating and cooling; removing fossil fuel subsidies; debunking renewable energy myths and working with the media; possible pathways over the next decade towards 100% renewables; the role of the consumer; distributed renewable energy; benefits of community-based power; and the best data to ensure good decision-making.

REN21 also launched a second report at the Academy in collaboration with the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Centre for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (ECREEE). The report, titled ‘ECOWAS Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Status Report 2014,’ reviews the status of renewable energy and energy efficiency market and industry development in West Africa.

The first government-hosted international conference on renewable energy convened in 2004, and led to the establishment of REN21, a global network that works to advance renewable energy in both developed and developing countries. [Renewables Academy 2014 Webpage] [The First Decade 2004-2014 Publication Webpage] [Publication: The First Decade: 2004-2014 – 10 Years of Renewable Energy Progress]


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