Renewable Energy Status

REN21 is a global network from science, academia, governments, NGOs and industry. They have released their annual Renewables Global Status Report.1 It shows renewable energy is growing faster than nuclear power.

The report finds that the growth of renewables (including hydro) amounted to a record 201 gigawatts (GW) in 2019. The end-of-year total was 2,588 GW. The report states:

“For the fifth year in a row, net additions of renewable power generation capacity clearly outpaced net installations of fossil fuel and nuclear power capacity combined.In most countries, producing electricity from wind and solar PV is now more cost effective than generating it from new coal-fired power plants. These cost declines have led to record-low bids in tendering processes, which became even more common during the year.”

REN21 Renewables Global Status Report

Comparing nuclear and renewables:

In 2019 renewable energy output grew to 201 GW nuclear energy output declined to 4.5 GW.2

In 2019 renewables delivered 75% of new power generation. For the last 5 years renewable energy has grown faster than all other power sources combined.

Solar PV accounted for a record 115 GW of the 201 GW of renewable growth. Solar PV energy was 627 GW by the end of 2019. Wind power saw its second largest annual increase, with 60 GW of new growth bringing the total to 650 GW (including 29 GW of offshore wind).

Renewables accounted for an estimated 27.3% of global electricity generation by the end of 2019 according to the REN21 report. By contrast, nuclear accounts for 10%. Renewables energy output has doubled over the past 10 years whereas nuclear power generation has been stagnant.

Total new investment in renewable power and fuels was at least US$316.7 billion in 2019. Global investment in renewables has exceeded US$200 billion every year since 2010. Investment in renewables in 2019 was more than 20 times greater than nuclear power investments of US$15 billion. Renewables accounted for 75% of investments in power capacity, gas 11.9%, coal 9.3% and nuclear 3.8%. Developing and emerging economies outweighed developed countries in renewable energy investments for the fifth year running, reaching US$152 billion.

The renewable energy sector employs around 11 million people worldwide according to the REN21 report.