Wind/solar/biomass/geothermal power –generation 0.7%
Biomass/solar/geothermal hot water/heating 1.5%
Fossil fuels 81%
Hydropower 3.4% Traditional biomass 10%
Figure 2: Renewable energy share of global final energy consumption, 2009 Source: REN21 (2011)
1.1 The energy sector2
of renewable sources of energy World primary energy demand3
and the position is expected to continue
growing. The International Energy Agency’s (IEA) Current Policies scenario, which assumes no major change in policies as of mid-2010, projects a growth rate of 1.4 per cent per year up to 2035 (Table 1). The fastest growth is expected in non-OECD countries with a projected rate of 2.2 per cent per year, particularly in China and India and other emerging economies in Asia and the Middle East. Many non-OECD countries are also expected to see large increases in imports of oil or gas or both.
Energy demand is growing against the backdrop of fluctuating, but generally increasing fossil-fuel prices (see Figure 1). Expenditure on oil alone increased from 1 per cent of global GDP in 1998 to around 4 per cent at the peak in 2007, and is projected to remain high in the period to 2030 (IEA 2008b).
2. While comprehensive figures are lacking, the energy sector comprises somewhat more than 5 per cent of world GDP, indicating its importance for the economy as a whole
3. Primary energy refers to the energy contained in an energy resource before it is subject to transformation processes, where losses – sometimes substantial – always take place.
Findings from this chapter indicate that the share of renewables in total energy supply is expanding and that the greening of the energy sector can contribute to the growth of income, jobs and access by the poor to affordable energy, which are other objectives of sustainable development. Worldwide investment in renewable energy assets – without large hydropower – grew by a factor of seven from US$ 19 billion in 2004 to US$ 143 billion in 2010. For OECD countries the share of renewable energy sources in total primary energy demand has risen from 4.6 per cent in 1973 to 7.7 per cent in 2009 (IEA 2010d).
This chapter follows the IEA definition of renewable energy:
Renewable energy is derived from natural processes that are replenished constantly. In its various forms, it derives directly or indirectly from the sun, or from heat generated deep within the earth. Included in the definition is energy generated from solar, wind, biomass, geothermal, hydropower and ocean resources, and biofuels and hydrogen derived from renewable resources (IEA 2008a).
Figure 2 indicates the share of renewable energy in global final energy consumption in 2009 at 19 per cent.