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Global demand for renewable energy on the rise – REN21 2013 report

Global demand for renewable energy on the rise – REN21 2013 report
REN21’s report show an increase in demand for renewable energy for 2011 and 2012, but a decline in early 2013

According to a report made by the global policy network REN21, the global demand for renewable energy was steadily on the rise the past two years but slow to start this 2013.

The report, titled “REN21 Renewables 2013 Global Status Report,” found that in the years 2011 and 2012, the demand for renewable energy consistently went up. In 2011, 19 percent of the world’s global consumption was supplied by renewable energy. That number grew to 21.7 percent by 2012.

There were over 1,470 gigawatts of renewable power back in 2012 – 8.5 percent higher from 2011. The year 2012 saw an increase in hydropower by 3 percent to 990 GW, while other renewable energy resources rose by 21.5 percent, exceeding 480 GW. Wind power was the biggest player in 2012, accounting for 39 percent of the total renewable power capacity, followed by hydropower and solar power, accounting 26 percent each.

However, this year’s first quarter saw lower investments in renewable energy, going down to around $40 billion - the lowest figure in any quarter since first quarter of 2009. Investments in small-scale projects went down from $20 billion quarterly average of 2012 to $18.5 billion in the first quarter of 2013. This drop in investments was partly due to the expiration of subsidies on December of the previous year, but the report emphasized that this drop in investments was not at all seasonal.

The renewable energy industry is still in dire need of subsidies and financial support. According to the International Energy Agency, renewable energy – not counting hydropower – got only a 24 percent bump from 2010, totaling $88 billion in subsidies and financial support. This figure is nowhere near that of fossil fuel, which got a 27-percent increase in 2011 from 2010, to an estimated $523 billion.

But aside from increasing subsidies and financial support to the renewable energy industry, moving forward requires investing renewable energy projects in rural areas of developing countries as this will not only generate power, but it will also create millions of local jobs. Renewable energy’s role in the global scene is so crucial that it has the potential to give everyone access to energy by 2030, provided that appropriate mechanisms were established.

According to the report, the need to change fossil fuel power plants to those that generate renewable energy, as well as all of the potential economic costs and benefits are all well understood by the world – the only thing that is needed is the political will to implement them.

The REN21’s “Renewables Global Report” is an annual flagship publication that was first released back in 2005. It has become an industry standard that provides a look into the global renewable energy situation, and a publication that is referenced by investors, governments, researchers, and policy-makers. - L. Polintan

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