Renewable Energy Makes Inroads Globally, Off-Grid Grows in Africa
Several recent reports released from international organizations and multilateral agencies highlight the important progress renewable energy is making, as it expands its reach in developing countries and worldwide. The advances reported in these publications are a key component of implementing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, especially Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 7 (Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all) and SDG 13 (Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts).
Recent reports address the growth of renewables, which is linked to achieving the SDG 7.2 target: ‘By 2030, increase substantially the share of renewable energy in the global energy mix.’ On a global scale, the World Energy Council (WEC) is reporting remarkable growth in the renewables sector over the past decade. Installed solar photovoltaic (PV) capacity has grown 51% in the past ten years and wind’s capacity increased 23%, according to the report, which is part of WEC’s ‘World Energy Perspectives: Renewables Integration 2016’ series.
Titled ‘Variable Renewables Integration in Electricity Systems: How to Get It Right,’ the report also finds that, including hydropower, renewables now account for 30% of installed generating capacity globally and reached a 23% share of global electricity production. In 2015, a record US$286 billion was invested to install 154 gigawatts (GW) of new renewables capacity, surpassing the investment in 97 GW of conventional generation.
The report includes important lessons on integrating variable renewable energy sources into electricity grids using case studies from 32 countries. [Climate Action Programme Press Release] [WEC Publication Webpage] [Variable Renewables Integration in Electricity Systems: How to Get It Right]
In Africa, the cost of electricity associated with utility-scale solar PV projects has declined by 61% since 2012, according to the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) publication ‘Solar PV in Africa: Costs and Markets.’ The decrease is attributable to a rapid decline in technology costs, which have allowed the installed cost of the systems to reach a low of US$1.30 per watt, which compares to the global average of US$1.80.
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