What is renewable energy?

Energy derived from natural processes (e.g. sunlight and wind) that are replenished at a faster rate than they are consumed. Solar, wind, geothermal, hydro, and some forms of biomass are common sources of renewable energy.

How much of the world’s energy comes from renewable sources?

In 2009, the world relied on renewable sources for around 13.1% of its primary energy supply, according to International Energy Association statistics. Renewables accounted for 19.5% of global electricity generation and 3% of global energy consumption for road transport in the same year.

How much has wind power grown since 2000?

Global wind power capacity was 238 Gigawatts (GW) at the end of 2011, up from just 18 GW at the end of 2000, with an average growth rate of over 25% over the past five years.

How much has solar photovoltaic (PV) grown over the last decade?

Solar photovoltaic (PV) directly converts solar energy into electricity using a PV cell; this is a semiconductor device. The global total of solar PV was roughly 67 GW at the end of 2011, to be compared with just 1.5 GW in 2000. Over the past five years, solar PV has averaged an annual growth rate of over 50%. Growth has been mostly concentrated in a few countries, where PV generates today a few percent of total yearly electricity production.

How much has biofuel production grown over the last decade?

Global biofuel production grew from 16 billion litres in 2000, to more than 100 billion litres in 2010. This biofuel provides around 3% of the world’s fuel for transport. (In Brazil, biofuel provides 23% of all transport fuel, compared with 4% in the United States and 3% in the European Union).

What are variable renewables?

Variable renewables include wind, solar, wave and tidal energy, and are based on sources that fluctuate during the course of any given day or season. Variability is not new to power systems, which must constantly balance the supply and variable demand for electricity, and face all kind of contingencies. However, large shares of variable renewables supply may increase pressure on power systems, which may need increased flexibility to respond to this balancing issue. More flexible generating capacities (e.g. gas and hydro power plants), interconnections, storage (e.g. with pumped-hydro plants), and/or load-management empowered by smart grids, can be combined to provide the required flexibility