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Share of renewables in the UK electricity generating capacity has overtaken fossil fuels for the first time as it reached 42 GW

Renewable energy is derived from resources that are replenished on a human timescale; examples include sunlight, wind, rains, waves, tides, geothermal heat and biomass. Renewable energy is used in three main areas: electricity generation, air and water heating and cooling, and transportation. Renewables are also suited to provide off-grid energy solutions in rural and remote areas. The overall production and use of renewable energy usually produce minimal greenhouse gases and have the potential to significantly reduce air pollution compared to hydrocarbon alternatives. Deployment of renewable energy also has potential energy security benefits, with renewable resources spread over wide geographical areas.

In light of the current greenhouse gas-driven warming of the climate and the associated impacts, a global transition to low carbon energy is underway with renewable energy at the forefront. Related technologies are rapidly becoming more efficient and falling in costs; some renewable energy forms like solar PV and onshore wind that once depended heavily on government support are now at or approaching cost-parity with fossil fuel generation. Since most renewables produce electricity, increasing the share of renewable energy in the whole energy system can be achieved by electrifying the heat and transport sectors, in combination with increasing the proportion of electricity provided by renewables. Besides electrification, the transport sector can benefit from biofuels which can substitute for oil products. The heat sector can see further deployment of solar water heating, biomass-fuelled burners and direct geothermal heating. Renewable energy is expected to continue expanding its share in the energy mix, as costs come down, innovative technologies are commercialised, and environmental drivers strengthen. In the short term, the EU has a target for 20% of all electricity to be generated from renewables by 2020. However, to meet long-term climate and sustainability goals, renewable energy deployment must accelerate in all sectors, enabled by policy and markets.

You can find further information below about the technologies, costs and current developments within each of the seven major types of renewables:

For the latest news and articles on renewable energy read Energy World.

Learn more about renewables by reading our Energy Insights.

View upcoming consultations and policies on renewables on our Policy Milestones Calendar.

What's new?

Energy Insight: Geopolitics and the renewable energy transition

14-03-2019
The influence of energy on geopolitics has historically referred to the influence of fossil fuels – coal, oil and natural gas. However, renewable energy sources are fast becoming a feasible alternative to fossil fuels, both economically and as a long-term sustainable solution to tackle climate chang...

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The Gambia receives backing for €142mn renewable energy programme

11-03-2019
Access to clean energy in The Gambia is set to be transformed under a new €142mn initiative to harness solar power and supply clean energy across the country, backed by the European Investment Bank, World Bank and European Union. Once operational, the scheme will increase energy supply in The G...

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California – 100% renewable power by 2045?

1-02-2019
California tends to lead the way among US states, so its adoption of a plan to transform its power industry to all renewables by 2045 is important. Here, S&P Global Ratings’ Michael Ferguson analyses the state’s chances of success. 

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Subsidies still needed despite falling renewables costs?

24-01-2019
Will subsidies disappear as Europe's renewable energy sector matures? The answer isn't clear cut, writes Liz Newmark in Brussels. 

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EY deems China ‘most attractive’ country for renewable investments

14-12-2018
China and the US remain the most attractive countries, but less-developed markets are catching up. China has retained the top spot in EY’s latest Renewable Energy Country Attractiveness Index (RECAI), which ranks 40 nations on the appeal of their renewable energy investment and deployment oppor...

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Events and training

"Energy Optimisation and Storage" - The march towards smarter energy solutions

28-03-2019
The second EI Singapore networking event of the year will focus on what is perhaps one of the most important issues facing both energy producers and consumers today.

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Siemens Wind Turbine Technical Presentation

28-03-2019
We all know when the wind blows and the blades turn we get electricity out of a wind turbine, but is it really that simple?

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POWERful Women Networking opportunity at All-Energy 2019

16-05-2019
       Join Lindsay McQuade, CEO, ScottishPower Renewables for a networking lunch.

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Financing challenges for a transforming energy industry

5-06-2019
Attend to discuss the latest challenges and financial solutions that will manage risks and facilitate the development of the future energy mix to meet consumers’ requirements.

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Technical guidance publications

G+ Safe by Design workshop report: WTG access and egress

2018
This publication is available to download for free for registered users.The latest G+ Global Offshore Wind Health and Safety Organisation (G+) Safe by Design workshop focused on the issues associated with access and egress throughout a WTG and substructure (transfer from vessel/helicopter was not in...

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G+ 2017 incident data report

2018
Free to download for registered users. For more information on the G+ visit www.gplusoffshorewind.comThe G+ is committed to providing the industry with information that will improve health and safety performance. Since the formation of the G+, members have been providing HSE information and statisti...

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Offshore wind leaders event report: Aims, action and industry commitment

2018
Free to download for registered users. For more information on the G+ visit www.gplusoffshorewind.comThe G+ Global Offshore Wind Health and Safety Organisation together with the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) hosted a review workshop at the HSE headquarters at Redgrave Court in Bootle on 26 ...

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G+ Safe by design workshop report: WTG access to the transition piece (below airtight deck)

2018
Free to download for registered users. For more information on the G+ visit www.gplusoffshorewind.comThis report presents the findings from the latest G+ Global Offshore Wind Health and Safety Organisation (G+) Safe by Design workshop, which focused on the issues associated with access below th...

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Fuels for gas turbine engines

2018
Published by Landfall Press; Author: Eric Goodger. Please note that an erratum was issued in December 2018 for this publication, it is available for download and present in the full PDF. This change has been incorporated into the full PDF.Since its emergence during WW2 as a viable alternative t...

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