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Renewables diversifies global energy mix
Launched at the 23rd World Energy Congress, World Energy Resources 2016 reveals that the unexpectedly high growth in the renewable energies market has contributed to falling prices and the increased decoupling of economic growth and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

Growth has been in terms of investment, new capacity and high growth rates in developing countries. At the launch of the report, Hans-Wilhelm Schiffer, executive chair, World Energy Resources, said: “Our report finds that the diversification of technologies and resources, now applied in the energy sector, creates many opportunities, but the enlarged complexity also leads to increased challenges. With the existing level of volatility, relying on solid facts and data as basis for strategic decision making by the relevant stakeholders, such as governments, international organisations and companies, is becoming even more important than in the past.

The energy landscape has changed with most countries achieving a more diversified energy mix as well as a growth in community ownerships and an evolution of micro grids.”

The total global renewable energy-based power capacity has doubled within the last ten years, from 1,037GW in 2006 to 1,985GW by the end of the year 2015. This is due to a record deployment in particular of wind and solar capacity for power generation. Wind energy capacity increased globally from 74GW in 2006 to 432GW in 2015 (420GW onshore and 12GW offshore), solar energy from 6GW to 227GW. Global hydropower capacity grew by 35% in 2006, from 893GW to 1,209GW in 2015, of which 154GW is pumped storage.

Hydropower is the leading renewable source for electricity generation globally, supplying 71% of all renewable electricity in 2015. 15% of all renewable electricity production in 2015 was based on wind, 5% on solar energy and 9% on biomass, geothermal and others combined. The total renewable-based power generation was 5,559TWh in 2015, which is 23% of the total worldwide power generation of 24,098TWh.

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 is expected to continue to grow.

The report also highlights the construction of nuclear energy. At December 2015, 65 nuclear reactors were under construction with a total capacity of 64GW. 40 of which are in China, India and Russia and Korea. Currently there are more than 45 small modular reactors designs under development, and four reactors under construction.

Global uranium production increased by 40% between 2004 and 2013, due to increased production by Kazakhstan, the world’s leading producer.

There are still challenges, finds the report: despite notable progress, the rate of improvements towards cleaner energy is far slower than required to meet emissions targets.


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