U.S. Department of Energy - Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy

Geothermal Technologies Office

IEA: Renewable Energy to Grow During the Next 5 Years

July 11, 2012

Global renewable power generation is expected to continue its rapid growth over the next five years, according to a new report from the International Energy Agency (IEA). The Medium-Term Renewable Energy Market Report 2012, released on July 5, says that despite economic uncertainties, global power generation from hydropower, solar, wind, and other renewable sources is projected to increase by more than 40% to almost 6,400 terawatt hours by 2017. That amount would be roughly one-and-a-half times the current electricity production in the United States.

The study examines in detail 15 key markets for renewable energy, which currently represent about 80% of renewable generation, while it identifies developments that may emerge in other important markets. Of the 710 gigawatts of new global renewable electricity capacity expected, China accounts for almost 40%, with the United States, India, Germany, and Brazil also contributing to the growth. The report presents detailed forecasts for renewable energy generation and capacity for eight technologies: hydropower, bioenergy for power, onshore wind, offshore wind, solar photovoltaics (PV), concentrating solar power, geothermal, and ocean power. Hydropower is projected to have the largest increase in generation, followed by onshore wind, bioenergy, and solar PV.

This expansion is underpinned by the maturing of renewable energy technologies, in large part due to supportive policy and market frameworks. However, rapidly increasing electricity demand and energy security needs in recent years have been spurring deployment in many emerging markets. These new deployment opportunities are creating a virtuous cycle of improved global competition and cost reductions. See the IEA press release.