World renewables-based power sector investment
Many forms of intervention to support renewable energy sources have contributed to the strong growth of the sector in recent years. Installed wind power capacity increased by 19% in 2012, to reach 282...
gigawatts (Gw), with China, the United States, Germany, Spain and India having the largest capacity (GWEC, 2013). Sub-Saharan Africa's first commercial wind farm also came online, in Ethiopia. US solar installations increased by 76%, to 3.3 GW in 2012 (Solar Energy Industries Association, 2013) and, while a federal target is not in place, most US states have renewable energy portolio standards designed to increase the share of electricity generated from renewable sources. The European Union has in place a target contribution from renewable energy to primary demand of 20% by 2020.
Japan has also expressed strong expectations for renewables, mainly solar photovoltaics (PV), in its new energy strategy following the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear accident. China has an extensive range of targets for all renewables, which are regularly upgraded. One example is the recent strengthening of the target for PV installations to 10 Gw per year, promising to make China the world leader for PV installation from 2013 onwards. India has stated a goal of reaching 55 Gw of non-hydro renewable capacity by 2017. Pakistan published its National Climate Change Strategy in September 2012, which, among other things, gives preferential status to hydropower and commits to promote other renewable energy resources (Pakistan Ministry of Climate Change, 2012). In 2012, Bangladesh passed specific legislation to promote the production and use of "green" energy. South Africa aims to reach 35 Gw of solar by 2030. Globally, recent trends for renewables are in line with those needed to achieve a 2 °C goal (IEA, 2013a). However, while the role of non-hydro renewables has been growing, particularly in power generation, this growth starts from a low base and sustaining high growth rates overall will be challenging. Also, despite generally strong growth, the renewables sector has not been immune to the global economic crisis, with a glut in capacity resulting in some markets. Global investment in renewables, excluding large hydro, is reported to have fallen by 11% in 2012, but this is due mainly to reductions in the cost of solar and wind installations: deployment has grown overall (Figure 1.5).
----- Note: Twh- terawatt-hours.
----- Sources: BNEF (2013)- Frankfurt School UNEP Collaborating Centre and Bloomberg New Energy Finance (2012) and IEA data and analysis.