The Renewables 2021 Global Status Report launched by REN21 highlights developments in the global renewable energy market in 2020, giving comprehensive data on capacity additions and total installations, investment flows and the policy commitments of countries to deploy renewable energy technologies. In general, the new report illustrates the notable gap between targets and actions, and makes it clear that governments need to become much more active in developing renewable energy in all sectors.
In 2020, more than 256 GW of renewable energy capacity was added worldwide, exceeding the previous record by nearly 30%. According to the report, despite the rapid development and tremendous growth in some renewable energy sectors, the share of renewables in the total energy balance has increased marginally (from 9% a decade ago to 11% today), while the share of fossil fuels in final energy consumption is almost as high as it was ten years ago (80.3% versus 80.2% today). The highest share of renewables is observed in the power sector (29%), ahead of heating and cooling (10.2%). The lowest contribution renewables make is to the transport sector (3.4%), with biofuels as the dominant source.
For several years in a row, China has led the world in adding renewable capacity and 2020 was also no exception – the country has nearly doubled the increase since 2019 and added about 117 GW. It accounted for almost half of all installations and was the global market leader for concentrating solar power (CSP), hydropower, wind power and solar photovoltaics. Only in the geothermal sector is there another leader, Turkey, which has installed almost all of the new facilities, of which there have been few this year, partly because of disruptions related to the pandemic.
China also remains the largest producer of bioelectricity, followed by the United States and Brazil. Germany remained Europe's major producer of bioelectricity, mostly from biogas. Indonesia is the world's top provider of biodiesel, and the highest ethanol production volumes were recorded in the United States.
The renewable energy indicators in 2020 for the five major renewable energy sources were as follows:
SOLAR PHOTOVOLTAICS (PV)
New additions 2020 – 139 GW
Total global capacity – 760 GW.
Top 5 Countries by additions: China (48.2 GW), United States (19.2), Vietnam (11.1), Japan (8.2), Germany (4.9).
Top 5 Countries by total capacity: China, United States, Japan, Germany, India.
New additions 2020 – 93 GW
Total global capacity – 743 GW.
Top Countries by additions: China (52 GW), United States (16.9), Brazil (2.3), Netherlands (2), Spain or Germany (1.7).
Top Countries by total capacity: China, United States, Germany, India, Spain.
New additions 2020 – 19.4 GW
Total global capacity – 1,170 GW.
Top 5 Countries by additions: China (12.6), Turkey (2.5), India (0.5), Angola or Russian Federation (0.4).
Top 5 Countries by total capacity: China, Brazil, Canada, United States, Russian Federation.
New additions 2020 – 0.1 GW
Total global capacity – 14.1 GW.
Top 5 Countries by additions: Turkey (99 MW), United States (32 MW), Japan (2 MW).
Top 5 Countries by total capacity: United States, Indonesia, Philippines, Turkey, New Zealand.
CONCENTRATING SOLAR THERMAL POWER (CSP)
New additions 2020 – 0.1 GW
Total global capacity – 6.2 GW
Top Countries by additions: China (0.1 GW) was the only country to add new capacity in 2020 with a 100 MW CSNP Royal Tech Urat parabolic trough project coming online.
Top Countries by total capacity: Spain, United States, China, Morocco, South Africa..