First released in 2005, REN21's Renewables Global Status Report (GSR) has grown to become a truly collaborative effort, drawing on an international network of over 500 authors, contributors and reviewers. Today it is the most frequently referenced report on renewable energy market, industry and policy trends.
Renewables are now established around the world as mainstream sources of energy. Rapid growth, particularly in the power sector, is driven by several factors, including the improving cost-competiveness of renewable technologies, dedicated policy initiatives, better access to financing, energy security and environmental concerns, growing demand for energy in developing and emerging economies, and the need for access to modern energy. Consequently, new markets for both centralized and distributed renewable energy are emerging in all regions.
2015 was a year of firsts and high-profile agreements and announcements related to renewable energy. These include commitments by both the G7 and the G20 to accelerate access to renewable energy and to advance energy efficiency, and the United Nations General Assembly’s adoption of a dedicated Sustainable Development Goal on Sustainable Energy for All (SDG 7).
The year’s events culminated in December at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change’s (UNFCCC) 21st Conference of the Parties (COP21) in Paris, where 195 countries agreed to limit global warming to well below 2 degrees Celsius.
A majority of countries committed to scaling up renewable energy and energy efficiency through their Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs). Out of the 189 countries that submitted INDCs, 147 countries mentioned renewable energy, and 167 countries mentioned energy efficiency; in addition, some countries committed to reforming their subsidies for fossil fuels. Precedent-setting commitments to renewable energy also were made by regional, state and local governments as well as by the private sector.
An estimated 147 gigawatts (GW) of renewable power capacity was added in 2015, the largest annual increase ever, while renewable heat capacity increased by around 38 gigawattsthermal
(GWth), and total biofuels production also rose. This growth occurred despite tumbling global prices for all fossil fuels, ongoing fossil fuel subsidies and other challenges facing renewables.
Read the full report here.