Renewables ‘main driver for unprecedented change in energy supply’

The global energy landscape has changed in the past 15 years driven by an unexpected growth in the renewable energy market. That’s according to the World Energy Council (WEC) which […]

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By Jacqueline Echevarria

The global energy landscape has changed in the past 15 years driven by an unexpected growth in the renewable energy market.

That’s according to the World Energy Council (WEC) which said investment in clean technologies, installation of new green capacity and high growth rates in developing countries have contributed to the shift.

Renewables have driven the fall in prices and increased decoupling of economic growth and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

Its report added: “We have seen the growth of unconventional resources and improvements in technology development for all forms of energy resources.

“Most countries have achieved a more diversified energy mix with a growth in community ownerships and an evolution of micro grids.”

The main drivers within the renewable sector are solar and wind energy which have grown globally, leading to investments in other clean technologies such as storage, with a worldwide installed capacity of 146GW in 2015.

Hydropower is still the leading renewable source for electricity generation globally and supplied 71% of all green electricity during the same period.

Marine energy hast started growing, with 0.5GW of commercial energy generation capacity in operation and 1.7GW under construction.

Nuclear, another low carbon technology, is recovering since the Fukushima incident in 2011. As of December 2015, 65 nuclear reactors were under construction with a total capacity of 64GW. There are also more than 45 small modular reactors designs under development and four reactors under construction.

Oil still remains the world’s leading fuel, accounting for 32.9% of global energy consumption, the report states.

Natural gas is the second largest source of power generation and is the only fossil fuel whose share of primary energy consumption is projected to grow, WEC said.

Christoph Frei, Secretary General at WEC added: “Oil will still be needed for transportation providing over 60% of energy needs but overall oil demand will flatten out. The golden age of gas will continue, with expected output growth between 25% and 70% by 2060.

“Renewables such as solar, wind and hydropower now account for about 30% of the total installed power generating capacity and 23% of total global electricity production and will continue to grow. However, more progress is urgently needed to scale up action on energy efficiency, electric storage and carbon capture and storage.”

Earlier this week WEC said global demand for energy per capita will peak before 2030.

Renewable energy, nuclear and fossil fuels will be among the topics discussed at the Energy Live 2016 conference on November the 3rd in London. Get your tickets here

There are limited free tickets for energy end users.