The Renewables 2020 Global Status Report by REN21 gives a comprehensive overview on global developments in renewable energy in 2019. In general, the report points out that renewable power generation has grown impressively over the past five years, while too little is happening in the heating and transport sectors due to lack of political support and slow developments in new technologies.
2019 was a record year – over 200 gigawatts of power capacity were installed, increasing the global total to 2,588 GW by the year’s end. The undisputed leader is solar photovoltaics, adding 155 GW (57%) of new renewable power capacity, followed by wind power (30%) and hydropower (8%), while the other 5% of new capacity came from bio-power, geothermal power and concentrating solar thermal power. 32 countries had at least 10 GW of renewable power capacity in 2019, a third more than a decade ago.
According to the report, the installed renewable energy capacity raised the share of renewables in global electricity generation to 27.3% at the end of 2019. The majority of this generation share is made up by hydropower (58%), ahead of wind power (22%), solar PV (10%) and bio-power (8%). In addition to current data, the GSR-2020 also provides data for the last ten years, recording a rapid increase of renewable energy sources in electricity generation all around the world. For example, the European Union raised its share of renewables in electricity generation from 19% in 2009 to 35% in 2019. In some EU countries, the progress was even more notable, such as in Denmark (from 39% to 77%), Germany (16% to 42%) and the United Kingdom (8% to 38%). In China, these figures rose by about 10% and in the United States by 7% during the past decade.
In terms of total renewable energy capacity, China has held the lead at the end of the year (789 GW), ahead of the USA (282 GW), Brazil (144 GW), India (137 GW) and Germany (124 GW). Considering the capacity added during 2019, China was also the world leader with 67 GW, followed by the USA (22 GW), India (13 GW) and Brazil/Japan with around 8 GW each.There are some countries such as Australia, Israel, Mexico, Argentina and Turkey that did not make it to the top five because of their overall small markets, but which recorded significant growth of renewables in total operating capacity. If we look at renewable power capacity per capita (not including hydropower), Iceland, Denmark, Germany, Sweden, Germany and Australia are at the top of the list in this category. The top 3 countries investing in the renewable energy are China, USA and Japan.
Transport is still the sector with the lowest share of renewable energy sources – only 3.3% with biofuels as the largest contributor of renewable energy to transport in 2019. In comparison to 2018, there were 40% more electric passenger cars in 2019 and their number reached 7.2 million, with 3.4 million of them on the roads of China. The worldwide production of biodiesel increased 13% in 2019, with Indonesia moving the United States from the first position as the largest producer.
The key figures of the GSR-2020 for the five major renewable energy sources are:
SOLAR PHOTOVOLTAICS (PV)
Total global capacity – 627 GW (115 in 2019).
Top 5 Countries by additions: China (30.1 GW), United States (13.3), India (9.9), Japan (7),Vietnam (4.8).
Top 5 Countries by total capacity: China (204 GW), United States (76), Japan (63), Germany (49), India (42.8).
Total global capacity – 651 GW (60 in 2019).
Top Countries by additions: China (28.8 GW), United States (9.1), United Kingdom (2.4), India (2.4), Spain (2.3).
Top Countries by total capacity: China (236.3 GW), United States (105.6), Germany (61.4), India (37.5), Spain (25.8).
Total global capacity – 1,150 GW (15.6 in 2019).
Top 5 Countries by additions: Brazil (4.9 GW), China (3.9), Lao PDR (1.9),Bhutan (0.7),Tajikistan (0.6).
Top 5 Countries by total capacity: China (326 GW), Brazil (109), Canada (81), United States (80), Russian Federation (48).
Total global capacity – 13.9 GW (0.7 in 2019).
Top 5 Countries by additions: Turkey (232 MW),Indonesia (182), Kenya (160), Costa Rica (55), Japan (54).
Top 5 Countries by total capacity: United States (2.5 GW), Indonesia (2.1), Philippines (1.9), Turkey (1.5), New Zealand (1.0).
CONCENTRATING SOLAR THERMAL POWER (CSP)
Total global capacity – 6.2 GW (0.6 in 2019)
Top Countries by additions: Israel (240 MW), China (200), South Africa (100), Kuwait (50), France (9).
Top Countries by total capacity: Spain (2.3 GW), United States (1.7), Morocco (0.5), South Africa (0.5), China (0.4).