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REMIPEG Report: Part 1 - Renewable power generation 2015: The latest world-market status


Dr. Patric Kleineidam and Jan Dörr

The World-Market Status special report – After two years of reductions, the 2014 investments in renewables were increasing to the value of 310 billion USD – nearly reaching an all-time high. The renewable energy markets are shifting significantly towards the emerging markets, and hydropower continues as the largest renewable technology with nearly 3 times the cumulated capacity of the second player, the wind sector.

 This special Renewable Energy Focus power generation report concludes the latest REMIPEG (Renewable Electricity Market, Installed Power and Annual Electricity Generation) report, carried out in the first half year of 2015. The report presents the recent overview for the status of the renewable energy market until the end of 2014. On the one hand, the data is based on available public information of various organisations in the different renewable energy markets and on the other hand, on expert information from the consultancy business in this market segment.Global investment trends 

Over the past decade, the demand for renewable energy worldwide has increased as a result of various factors. First, strict environmental policies have limited CO2 emissions from conventional power plants, encouraging the construction of renewable energy plants. 

This is also supported by the major international financing institutions, influencing technology deployment for renewable electricity generation in developing and emerging countries. Simultaneously, the momentarily decreasing price trend of fossil fuels is putting this development under pressure. The future installation of renewable energy projects will depend on the development of these trends.

Additionally, some further factors have led to a political influence on the developments of some of the established markets. Partly due to more difficult financial situations (relevant for Spain, Italy and Greece) or due to a quite high level of renewable resources achieved in the grid (especially in Germany), the amount of new installations in renewables are being limited by different political measures. 

On the other hand, there are a number of several growing markets that support renewables significantly, such as China, South Africa and Chile.  Furthermore, the prolongation of the PTC in the US has reaffirmed this major market, which has a significant impact on the global installation numbers. Also the very stable hydropower market contributes to the positive development of the renewable energy segment. For this technology, the amount of new installations has been strongly linked to the developments in China.

Political trends

For future developments, the effects of the decrease of fossil fuel prices will be important. The expectations so far show some diversity if such a decrease will reduce the growth of renewable sources. In the past, increases in fossil fuel prices have been a strong driver for development of renewable sources to reduce dependence from imports. Such decrease in fuel prices could slow down the development of renewables. 

On the other hand, the political need to avoid climate change has become stronger than ever, which will further increase the need to support de-carbonisation of industry, and hence the support of further growth of renewable energies. Despite these uncertainties, the overall perspective for further growth of renewable energies is stable.

Sector activity

After two years of reductions, investments in renewables were increasing again in 2014 to a value of 310 billion USD, nearly reaching an all-time high. The trend for fast growth in Asia Pacific is maintaining, while Europe is stabilising on a comparatively low level. The renewable energy markets are shifting significantly towards the emerging markets and this trend will likely maintain.

According to the REMIPEG database, the cumulated installations in North America and Europe went further down from 46 % to 42 %, while Asian and South American countries rose from 50 % to 54 %, resulting from an increase of new installations. Africa’s new installed capacities are still small but nearly doubling new installations from 2013 to 2014. 

Renewable energy type

Cumulated installed capacity 2014

New installed capacity 2014

Growth of cumulated installed capacity 

Growth rate of newly-installed capacity (2013 - 2014)

Estimated electricity generation 2014

 

[GW]

[GW]      

 [%]

[%]

[TWh/y]

Hydropower

1,058.3

39.0

 5

-2

3,814.8

Wind power

368.5

50.2

17

42

705.7

Solar PV

168.1

39.4

 25

9

223.5

Solar CSP

4.5

0.7

 19

-37

8.3

Biomass 

93.0

4.4

5

16

263-651

Geothermal power

12.6

0.6

5

22

73.7

World total

1,705.0

134.4

13

8

5089-5477


Figure 2. 
Regional distribution of the cumulated installed power capacity end of 2014.
 


Hydropower continues to be the largest renewable energy technology with nearly 3 times the cumulated capacity to the second player, the wind sector. New installations of wind energy capacity were surpassing by 50 GW those of hydropower for the first time, while solar projects reached the same level of 39 GW new installation capacities like hydropower projects. Hydropower constitutes 62 % of the total installed capacity and 72% of the total electricity generation of the renewable energies mix.

In 2014 the wind energy market year-to-year growth rate reached a significant value of 42%, after a decrease in 2013. This indicates that the technology was coming back to the expected growth rate after the difficult year 2013, when the delay in prolongation of PTCs nearly stopped the important US market altogether.

The year-to-year growth rate in the PV sector decreased slightly in 2014, mainly due to the changes in policy. For the first time, new installations still achieved the level of new installations in the hydropower sector. 

The CSP sector grew with a decreased rate because of massive cost reductions in PV technology, which is perceived by investors as a direct competing technology.

The geothermal power market added 600 MW of new capacity connected to the grid, showing slight increase of newly installed capacities after a very active market in 2013. 

 
Figure 3. Historical development of installed power capacity of RE technologies.

The biomass market has been comparatively stable in a global perspective with some markets being more active than others due to changes in the political environment.
 
For all technologies the cumulated installed power capacity grew to 1,705, GW during 2014, with wind power being the leader. The largest growth rate belongs to the wind energy sector, which was recovering from a significant setback in 2013.
 
Altogether, the overall newly installed renewable electricity capacity increased by 13% compared to 2013, which is double the year before. Renewable energies are still on a stable growth path, with emerging markets increasing their importance.
 
Finally, electricity generation from renewable sources is estimated around 5.3 PWh, produced of a total installed capacity of 1,705 GW, compared to 5 PWh in 2013. Thus reaching a share of more than 22.5 % of the total worldwide power generation, estimated to 23.6 PWh .
 

ABOUT THE AUTHORS
 

Dr. Patric Kleineidam is Head of Department Wind Energy at Lahmeyer International GmbH, Bad Vilbel.
Jan Dörr is Intern at Lahmeyer International GmbH, Bad Vilbel.

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