Renewables Update

Renewables Lead the Way in Japanese

6 August 2015 REN21 Secretariat

REN21’s newly released Renewables 2015 Global Status Report notes that renewable energy’s record year led to the uncoupling of the global economy’s growth from CO2 emissions. Renewables contributed to the decoupling with an estimated 59% of net additions to global power capacity and represented far higher shares of capacity added in several countries around the world. By year’s end, renewables comprised an estimated 27.7% of the world’s power generating capacity. This was enough to supply an estimated 22.8% of global electricity demand. With 135 gigawatts added, total installed renewable power capacity worldwide stood at 1712 gigawatts, up 8.5% from the year before.

Over the past decade solar photovoltaic (PV) capacity grew at a phenomenal rate (up 68-fold, from 2.6 GW in 2004 to 177 GW in 2014). The wind sector also saw strong growth up almost 8-fold, from 48 GW in 2004 to 370 GW in 2014.

In 2014 the top three solar PV markets were China, Japan and the US. Japan added an estimated 9.7 GW to the grid, raising its total solar PV capacity to 23.3 GW. Over 51 GW of wind capacity was also added globally, representing a 44% increase over the previous year; China alone accounted for 45% of global additions. Asia currently remains the largest market for the seventh consecutive year, and overtook Europe in total capacity.

Heating accounted for about half of world energy consumption in 2014. Renewable energy supplied more than 25% of final energy use in the heating sector, of which over two-thirds was traditional biomass. Modern renewable energy supplied the remaining third, or about 8% of the world’s total final energy use for heat production.

Asia uses the largest amount of modern renewable energy in the heating sector overall, driven primarily by the amount of industrial bio-heat used in India and other Asian countries.

New investment in renewable power and fuels (not including hydropower >50 MW) increased worldwide by 17% over 2013, to US$ 270.2 billion. Including large-scale hydropower, new investment in renewable power and fuels reached over US$ 301 billion.

You can find more about renewable energy developments by consulting: including the GSR press release in Japanese. Also check out REN21’s newly revamped Renewables Interactive Map ( which contains extensive country-level data.