Introduction to Renewable Energy
Renewable Energies are abundantly available, they are clean and their costs are rapidly
decreasing. A smart mix of decentralized and centralized Renewables – grid-connected and
off-grid – can provide access to energy to those billions of people who do not have it today.
Renewables can accelerate the decarbonisation of the energy sector. Renewables are
providing a unique opportunity for alleviation of poverty and at the same time reduction of
greenhouse gas emissions. The faster Renewables grow, the sooner the world will meet the
ambitions of the Paris Agreement. If we are serious about limiting global warming “well below
2 degrees” until the end of the century, there is no realistic alternative to fully decarbonizing
the energy sector and more.
Today, Renewable Energy is contributing about 20% to the world’s total final energy
consumption, about half of which is from traditional biomass and – growing at slightly faster
rates than the world’s energy demand – a growing share of which from modern renewables,
such as wind, solar, hydropower, biomass and geothermal. In the electricity sector, the share
of renewables is already 25% today, with hydropower providing two thirds, but solar and wind
power growing exponentially. For several consecutive years now, more Renewable power
capacity has been installed globally than any other technology or source. Particularly wind and
solar power, but also other sources and applications, are the cheapest sources of energy
around the world.
Hundreds and thousands of cities, communities and regions, but also more than 50 countries
have already committed to a 100% renewable energy future – most of them aiming at 2050
the latest. Large international companies have committed to sourcing all their electricity or
even all their energy completely from Renewables – and they are striving to achieve this
objective before the middle of the century. An increasing number of scenarios on all levels –
including the world as a whole – are being developed which show that a fully renewable
energy based system is possible – and cheaper than continuing the fossil and nuclear based
energy system. Renewable energy is creating jobs for more than 10 million people and
presently is attracting an investment of more than US$400 billion a year.