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2022 Renewables Global Status Report (GSR-2022): a record 6% increase in carbon dioxide emissions in 2021

REN21's annual Renewable Energy Report documents the progress made in the renewable energy sector worldwide. This year's edition publishes data for the year 2021, while noting that in 2022 the world is facing the largest energy crisis in history, exacerbated by the Russian Federation's invasion of Ukraine. In this context, the task of increasing the share of renewable energy in total energy consumption becomes increasingly urgent for ensuring energy sovereignty and security.

According to GSR-2022, despite the effects of the pandemic and rising global commodity prices, the disruption of renewable energy supply chains and delays in many projects, renewable energy experienced another year of record growth in energy capacity in 2021. Investment in renewable energy and fuels rose for the fourth year in a row, reaching $366 billion, and record growth in global electricity production led to solar and wind power providing more than 10% of global electricity for the first time in history. Stronger political commitment and growth in sales of heat pumps and electric vehicles have also led to increased use of renewable electricity in the heating and transportation sectors. At the same time, various factors continued to slow the global transition to renewable energy systems. The rebound in global energy demand, estimated to grow by 4% in 2021, was met primarily by coal and natural gas and led to a record 6% increase in carbon dioxide emissions.

Share ratio of the main types of renewable energy in the production of electricity (left) and heat (right), %

Based on BP Statistical Review of World Energy 2020 (PDF) / BP /

As before, transportation is the sector with the lowest share of renewable energy use, with biofuels making an overwhelming contribution. The share of renewable energy sources in industry and agriculture increased by 4% over the decade, mainly due to the electrification of industrial processes. Renewable energy accounts for 14.7% of final energy demand in buildings, supplied mainly by renewable electricity, followed by modern bio-heat.

China has traditionally led the renewable energy market, ranking first in all technologies except concentrated solar power (CSP). In addition, in 2021, China became the first country to exceed 1 terawatt of installed renewable energy capacity with an increase in total installations by 136 GW, which is about 43% of the global increase.

The renewable energy indicators in 2021 for the major renewable energy sources were as follows:

SOLAR PHOTOVOLTAICS (PV) - another record-breaking year
Total global capacity – 942 GW (175 GW added in 2021)
Top 5 Countries by additions: China (+54.9 GW), United States (+26.9), India (+13), Japan (+6.5), Brazil (+5.5).
Top 5 Countries by total capacity: China, United States, Japan, Germany, India.

Photovoltaics is the leader in installed capacity among renewable energy technologies
WIND POWER – a record of 18.7 GW in offshore wind installations
Total global capacity –845 GW (102 GW added in 2021)
Top Countries by additions: China (+55.9 GW), United States (+15), Brazil (+3.8), Vietnam (+3-5), the UK (+2.6).
Top Countries by total capacity: China, Germany, India, United States, the UK.

China is the leader in wind generation

HYDROPOWER – growth in additions, but declines in generation
Total global capacity – 1,197 GW (26 GW added in 2021)
Top 5 Countries by additions: China (+20.6 GW), India (+0.9), Nepal (+0.8), Lao PDR (+0.6), Turkey (+0.5) or Indonesia (+0.5).
Top 5 Countries by total capacity: China (30% of the global total), Brazil (9%), Canada (7%), United States (7%), Russian Federation (4%) or India (4%).

GEOTHERMAL – 31% of Iceland’s electricity is geothermal
Total global capacity – 14.5 GW (0.3 GW added in 2021)
Top 5 Countries by additions: Indonesia (+146 MW), Turkey (+63), New Zealand (+32), United States (+25), Iceland (+1).
Top 5 Countries by total capacity: United States, Indonesia, Philippines, Turkey, New Zealand.

CONCENTRATING SOLAR THERMAL POWER (CSP) - Global CSP market contracted for the first time since 1980's.

Total global capacity – 6.0 GW (-0.2 GW in comparison to 2020).
The only country to add new CSP capacity in 2021 was Chile.
Top Countries by total capacity: Spain, United States, China, Morocco, South Africa.

OCEAN POWER - USD 180 million in new investment

Total global capacity – 524 MW (4.6 MW added in 2021)
The new installed capacity comes mainly from two tidal range systems – the 240 MW La Rance station in France and the 254 MW Sihwa plant in the Republic of Korea.