June, 2014: Renewable Energy Stats and Trends

In June 2014, several companies and organizations  (ranging from BP to the International Renewable Energy Agency) have published comprehensive reports detailing various aspects of the world’s energy sector. This article tries to present the most important highlights of these reports to provide a snapshot-style look at the world’s energy as it is seen by different sources.

General Trends and Perspectives

  • Global primary energy consumption increased by 2.3% in 2013, growing faster than in 2012 (+1.8%) but below the 10-year average of 2.5% [1].
  • Global economic growth is assumed to average at 3% per year until 2040; energy demand is expected to grow by 1.3% on average, reflecting an expected and continued improvement in energy efficiencies [2].
  • Global CO2 emissions are expected to continue to grow until oil (and coal) demand peaks somewhere around 2030 [2].
  • The global renewable energy share can reach and exceed 30% by 2030. Doubling renewable energy to 36% of global energy consumption will reduce the global demand for oil and gas by approximately 15% and for coal by 26%. However, business-as-usual will only result in an increase of this share from 18% in 2010 to 21% by 2030 [3].
  • Meeting the world’s growing need for energy will require more than $48 trillion in investment in energy supply over the period to 2035. Today’s annual investment in energy supply of $1.6 trillion needs to rise steadily over the coming decades towards $2 trillion. Annual spending on energy efficiency, measured against a 2012 baseline, needs to rise from $130 billion today to more than $550 billion by 2035 [4].

Renewable Energy Trends

  • According to Bloomberg, renewable power generation capacity in 2013 made up 13.7% of world generation capacity, up from 12.6% in 2012, and accounted for 8.5% of world generation, up from 7.8% in 2012. Investments in new renewable generation assets made up more than 40% of worldwide investments in all generation assets in 2013 as in 2012 [2].
  • Nine percent of total final energy consumption is modern renewable energy, and up to another 9% is traditional biomass (mainly used for heating), of which only part is sustainable, resulting in a total renewable energy share of 18% in 2010 [3].
  • Renewable energy sources (excluding hydropower)—in power generation as well as transport—continued to increase in 2013, reaching a record 2.7% of global energy consumption, up from 0.8% a decade ago. Renewable energy accounted for more than 5% of global electricity production for the first time, and 15% of EU power generation [1].
  • Hydropower makes up the largest share of renewable electricity generation by a wide margin [2, 3].
  • On 2013, global hydroelectric output grew by a below average 2.9%, and accounted for 6.7% of global energy consumption [1].
  • In the OECD area the bulk of hydropower resources has already been developed. Outside the OECD area the situation is different. OECD generation is assumed to grow by 0.6% per year between 2010 and 2040, Chinese and other non-OECD generation by averages of 3.1% and 2.4% per year, respectively [2].
  • Global investments in wind power declined by 6% in 2012 and by another 1% in 2013. Investments in solar power dropped by almost 10% in 2012 and plummeted by more than 20% in 2013 [2].
  • Globally, wind energy (+20.7%) once again accounted for more than half of renewable power generation growth and solar power generation grew even more rapidly (+33%), but from a smaller base [1].
  • Global biofuels production grew by a below-average 6.1% [1].
  • In 2013, approximately 6.5 million people were employed in the renewable energy industry (excluding hydropower except for small hydropower) worldwide [5].
  • In 2013, the solar photovoltaic sector accounted for 2.3 million jobs. Liquid biofuels, modern biomass and biogas were large employers (1.4 million, 0.8 million and 0.3 million). Wind employment remained relatively stable at 0.8 million jobs [5].
  • China remains the largest employer in renewable energy sector in 2013 [5].


1. Statistical Review of World Energy 2014, BP
2. Energy Perspectives 2014, Statoil
3. REmap 2030, IRENA
4. World Energy Investment Outlook, IEA
5. Renewable Energy and Jobs – Annual Review 2014, IRENA

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John Davenport is the Editor-in-Chief and active contributor for the Daily Fusion. He is an international journalist with more than 8 years of experience in print media, TV and public relations. Previously he worked as the newspaper editor, a freelance journalist and a telecom engineer. He holds a master’s degree in engineering and believes that it is reasonable to rely on scientific observation, data and experiments to reach right conclusions and avoid wrong ones.

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