IRENA Report Finds 5% Increase in Renewable Energy Compared to 2016
Wind turbines in Tunisia. Photo credit: Anastasia Palagutina/Unsplash
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Solar and wind energy contributed to the sector’s overall growth, with solar energy increasing 35% compared to 2016.

Public investment in renewable energy has increased to a record high of USD 29 billion in 2017.

1 July 2019: The International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) has released a report that finds a 5% increase in renewable energy in 2017, compared to 2016. The report presents data for 130 countries, and highlights trends on renewable energy worldwide.

The report titled, ‘Renewable Energy Statistics 2019,’ provides data on power-generation capacity for 2009-2018 and actual power generation for 2009-2017 as well as data on renewable energy for over 130 countries and areas. In 2017, total electricity generated from renewables was 6,191 terawatt-hours (TWh). Hydropower remained the dominant form of renewable energy, making up 65% of renewables, followed by wind energy (18%), bioenergy (8%), solar energy (7%) and geothermal energy (2%).

In 2017, renewable energy generation growth was 293 TWh higher than in 2016. Solar and wind energy contributed to the sector’s overall growth: solar energy increased 35% compared to 2016, and wind power generation increased 19% compared to 2016. These two sectors account for 70% of growth since 2013. In contrast, overall hydropower generation declined in 2017, mostly in Europe and also in Eurasia and South America. Asia and North America recorded slight expansion of hydro generation.

In 2017, Asia’s share of global wind generation equaled Europe’s in 2017.

The Asia region demonstrated the most growth in renewable electricity generation, similar to recent years. In 2017, Asia’s share of global renewable generation reached 39%, and its share of global wind generation equaled Europe’s in 2017. Other regions’ share of renewable generation are as follows: Europe and North America at 20%; South America at 13%; and Eurasia at 5%.

Overall, renewables accounted for 24% of electricity consumption in 2016, an increase by 1% since 2015. Renewable energy generation was 23.7% in 2016 and 24.4% in 2017. SDG target 7.2 aims to “substantially” increase the share of renewable energy in the global energy mix by 2030.

Public investment in renewable energy has increased to a record high of USD 29 billion in 2017, an increase of USD 3 billion, or nearly 12%, compared to 2016. In addition, international support for investment in renewable energy reached USD 18.6 billion in 2016. SDG indicator 7.a.1 measures international financial flows to developing countries in support of clean and renewable energy.

IRENA’s latest statistics feature some minor revisions to the 2018 renewable generating capacity reported in March 2019. For 2018, total renewable generating capacity has been revised upwards by 5 gigawatt (GW) to 2,356 GW, and off-gird electricity capacity has been revised downwards by 0.5 GW to 8.4 GW. The downward revision is primarily the result of a reduction in off-grid bioenergy capacity reported by Malaysia. [Publication: Renewable Energy Statistics 2019] [Report Webpage] [Renewable Energy Highlights] [SDG Knowledge Hub Story on Renewable Capacity Statistics 2019 Report]

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