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Renewable energy set for rapid growth in next five years

The amount of energy generated from renewable sources is set to grow by 20% in the next five years to reach 12.4% of global energy demand by 2023, according to a new analysis.10 Oct 2018

The analysis by the International Energy Agency (IEA) examines the forecast for renewable energy and technologies up to 2023. The report concludes that by 2023 renewable energy sources will provide nearly 30% of global electricity, up from 24% in 2017.

Bioenergy will remain the predominant source of renewable energy in five years’ time, although it will account for only 46% of renewable energy compared to 50% last year.

Renewable energy will meet more than 70% of growth in electricity generation, with solar PV energy growing most quickly, followed by wind, hydropower and bioenergy.

Renewable heat consumption is expected to increase by 20% over the forecast period to reach a share of 12% of heating sector demand by 2023. However the increase in the share of demand for heating contributed by renewables will be small, with continuous economic and population growth driving “robust growth” in total heat demand, the IEA said.

Sources of renewable energy will remain low in the transport sector, with their share growing only minimally from 3.4% in 2017 to 3.8% in 2023. The IEA said this was due to ongoing consumption of petroleum products and although renewable electricity consumption in road and rail transport modes would increase 65% over the next five years, this was from a low base.

The IEA also examined the use of renewable energy sources in five major markets: the EU, US, China, Brazil and India. Of these, Brazil currently generated and would continue to generate the highest proportion of energy from renewable sources, with the share of energy from renewables rising from 42% to 44% in the next five years.

China is predicted to have the greatest absolute growth in the production of energy from renewable sources in the next five years, with a particularly high proportion of renewable energy from hydropower. However it would only be generating 12% of its energy needs from renewable sources in 2023, up from 9% last year.

After Brazil the EU has the highest share of energy from renewables, with this rising from 17% to 21% in five years. The IEA said this was spurred by “binding renewable energy targets for 2020 and 2030 as well as implementing country-level policies and improved energy efficiency”.

The IEA said to meet long-term climate and other sustainability goals, renewable energy development in the heat, electricity and transport sectors must accelerate.

“Should progress continue at the pace currently forecast, the share of renewables in final energy consumption would be roughly 18% by 2040 – significantly below the IEA Sustainable Development Scenario’s benchmark of 28%,” the IEA said.