Renewables now make up 26% of global electricity generation, second after coal

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?

Renewables paving the path to net zero

1-09-2020
Daniel de Wijze takes a look at an energy industry moving towards net zero, through the lens of the views of Energy Institute members.

Read more »

Renewables sector feeds specialist lubricants business

1-09-2020
Modern wind and tidal energy turbines, and hydropower plants, require specially-manufactured lubricants, which sometimes need to be supplied and replaced in exacting site conditions – such as offshore – writes Jens Kastner.

Read more »

China, US dominate world renewables output

28-08-2020
According to the International Energy Agency’s Key World Energy Statistics report, just released China continues to be the world’s largest producer of renewable power from wind as well as solar photovoltaics 

Read more »

New BEIS forecasts show costs of renewables continues to fall

25-08-2020
Costs of deploying renewable electricity generators continue to fall as new government statistics show dramatic cost reductions for solar and wind out to 2040. 

Read more »

New UK trade body for sustainable renewable transport fuels

25-08-2020
A total of 12 companies comprising the UK’s producers of liquid renewable fuels and the majority of the green gas used in UK transport have formed the Renewable Transport Fuel Association (RTFA) which aims to be the ‘go to’ voice for UK renewable transport fuel producers and suppliers.RTFA’s founder...

Read more »

Events and training

EI LIVE | Level 3: Advanced Energy Manager

28-09-2020
This 10-day virtual blended course is an advanced qualification aiming to support experienced energy managers to further advance their careers by gaining the skills and knowledge required to function successfully at a senior level and be able to manage energy across a wide range of business areas, a...

Read more »

EI LIVE Free Webinar | Powering Net Zero

8-10-2020
A free webinar, held ahead of the 2021 conference, to discuss the latest strategies needed to reach net zero.8 October 2020: 9:00 - 10:40 BSTEI Knowledge Partner:

Read more »

EI LIVE | Level 1: Certificate in Energy Management Essentials - October 2020

12-10-2020
About: This introductory 5 day virtual blended course provides a comprehensive, practical overview of the fundamentals of energy management, equipping participants with all the essential knowledge and skills they need to save energy, reduce operational costs and carbon emissions, comply with legisla...

Read more »

EL LIVE Free Webinar | Renewables: Health, Safety and Sustainability

5-11-2020
A free webinar, held ahead of the 2021 conference, to discuss building renewables in a safe and sustainable way.5 November 2020: 14:00 - 15:15 GMTEI Knowledge Partner:

Read more »

Oil and Gas Industry Fundamentals - Intensive - December 2020

2-12-2020
This intensive 3-day course is a leading course presented by an industry expert and practitioner. Delegates will cover the key sectors of the oil and gas industry from exploration through to fuel retailing. 

Read more »

Technical guidance publications

Traditional Mandarin translation - G+ Integrated Offshore Emergency Response (G+ IOER) Good practice guidelines for offshore renewable energy developments

2020
This publication is available to download for free.此出版物可免費下載。This is the traditional Mandarin translation of the publication G+ Integrated Offshore Emergency Response (G+ IOER) Good practice guidelines for offshore renewable energy developments. The English version of this title can be dow...

Read more »

SafetyOn Onshore Emergency Response. Good practice guidelines for onshore wind energy developments

2020
This publication is available to download for free.This document aims to provide a process that, if followed, should allow the Duty Holder to develop site-specific plans and procedures to mitigate the consequence of incidents and help protect casualties until they can be delivered to an ultimate pla...

Read more »

Good practice guideline - Offshore wind farm transfer

2020
This guidance provides a framework of how to execute a safe transfer in an offshore wind farm in order to provide consistency and good practice regarding transfer across the wind industry and to allow operators and vessel owners to produce or to verify their transfer procedure up against a set of in...

Read more »

G+ Safe by design Workshop report update: WTG service lifts – follow-up on workshop conclusions

2020
This publication is available to download for free for registered users.A Safe by Design workshop on wind turbine generator (WTG) service lifts was held on 22 September 2016 in London. From this workshop a report was published, with recommendations (G+ Safe by Design workshop report: WTG service lif...

Read more »

Case study on reducing manual handling and ergonomics related incidents in the offshore wind industry

2020
This document provides support and practical examples to help reduce MH&E related incidents in the offshore wind industry. The requirement for support and guidelines to reduce MH incidents in the offshore wind industry originates from:Reporting that indicates that MH injuries are one of the larg...

Read more »

Visit our publishing site »

You may also be interested in