Five things we learned from the Renewables 2016 Global Status Report
Today REN21, a global renewable energy multi-stakeholder policy network, released its comprehensive annual overview of the state of renewable energy.
Overall, renewable capacity is expanding significantly, with further technological innovation and increased investment responsible for the boom. Here are five crucial insights presented in the REN21 report:
1.) Renewables now supply almost a quarter of electricity worldwide
In 2015, the power sector experienced its largest ever annual increase in capacity, with wind energy and solar PV accounting for roughly 77 percent of new installations, and hydropower making up most of the remainder. By the end of the year, renewables were supplying 23.7 percent of global electricity, with hydropower contributing about 16.6 percent to this figure.
2.) Wind is the largest source of new renewable power capacity
A record 63GW of wind power was added in 2015, bringing the global total to 433GW, with non-OECD countries responsible for the majority of installations. Additionally, most major turbine manufacturers broke their own installation records.
3.) There is now double the investment in renewables than in coal-fired power
Last year, there was US $130 billion awarded to new coal and natural-gas fired power generation, while there was US $265.8 billion invested in renewable power capacity.
4.) Investment in renewable power by developing countries surpassed that of developed counterparts
Renewable energy investment in developed countries declined by eight percent, to US $130 billion, in 2015. Countries in the developing world (including China, Brazil and India) dedicated a grand total of US $156.9 billion to installing renewable capacity, with China accounting for 102.9 billion of the composite figure.
5.) Renewable heating and cooling faces a challenge from cheap oil
Three quarters of the energy used for heating and cooling worldwide is fossil fuel based. Renewables supply just eight percent of energy for heating and cooling services, and low oil prices have been blamed for the sluggish uptake of renewables in the sector.
Read the full report on the REN21 website.
Read the May 2016 issue of Energy Digital magazine
All but two UK regions failing on school energy efficiency
Most schools are still "treading water" on implementing energy efficient technology, according to new analysis of Government data from eLight.
Yorkshire & the Humber and the North East are the only regions where schools have collectively reduced how much they spend on energy per pupil, cutting expenditure by 4.4% and 0.9% respectively. Every other region of England increased its average energy expenditure per pupil, with schools in Inner London doing so by as much as 23.5%.
According to The Carbon Trust, energy bills in UK schools amount to £543 million per year, with 50% of a school’s total electricity cost being lighting. If every school in the UK implemented any type of energy efficient technology, over £100 million could be saved each year.
Harvey Sinclair, CEO of eEnergy, eLight’s parent company, said the figures demonstrate an uncomfortable truth for the education sector – namely that most schools are still treading water on the implementation of energy efficient technology. Energy efficiency could make a huge difference to meeting net zero ambitions, but most schools are still lagging behind.
“The solutions exist, but they are not being deployed fast enough," he said. "For example, we’ve made great progress in upgrading schools to energy-efficient LED lighting, but with 80% of schools yet to make the switch, there’s an enormous opportunity to make a collective reduction in carbon footprint and save a lot of money on energy bills. Our model means the entire project is financed, doesn’t require any upfront expenditure, and repayments are more than covered by the energy savings made."
He said while it has worked with over 300 schools, most are still far too slow to commit. "We are urging them to act with greater urgency because climate change won’t wait, and the need for action gets more pressing every year. The education sector has an important part to play in that and pupils around the country expect their schools to do so – there is still a huge job to be done."
North Yorkshire County Council is benefiting from the Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme, which has so far awarded nearly £1bn for energy efficiency and heat decarbonisation projects around the country, and Craven schools has reportedly made a successful £2m bid (click here).
The Department for Education has issued 13 tips for reducing energy and water use in schools.