More emerging economies nurture renewable energy growth

ABU DHABI: The number of emerging economy nations with policies in place to support expansion of renewable energy has surged more than six-fold in just eight years, from 15 developing countries in 2005 to 95 earlier this year, according to a new report Tuesday.

Of the 144 countries with renewable energy support policies and targets in place, 95 are developing nations. The rise of developing world support contrasts with declining incentives and growing uncertainty in Europe and the U.S., says REN21, the Renewable 2014 Global Status Report prepared by the Renewable Energy Policy Network of the 21st Century (REN21), a global public-private multi-stakeholder network for renewable energy, and is based in Paris, France.

REN21 brings together governments, nongovernmental organisations, research and academic institutions, international organisations and industry to learn from one another and build on successes that advance renewable energy.

Launched at the Sustainable Energy for All initiative hosted by the UN, the report credits support policies with a central role in driving global renewable energy capacity to a new record level last year, noting that more than 22 percent of the world’s power production now comes from renewable sources.

The report stated that the US, Brazil, Canada and Germany remained the top countries for total installed renewable power capacity, with China’s new renewable power capacity surpassed new fossil fuel and nuclear capacity for the first time.

It added that renewables are achieving high levels of penetration in several countries, as wind power met 33.2 percent and 20.9 percent of electricity demand in Denmark and Spain respectively during 2013.

Denmark, for instance, banned the use of fossil fuel-fired boilers in new buildings as of 2013 and aims for renewables to provide almost 40 percent of total heat supply by 2020.

It also said that Djibouti, Scotland and a growing number of other countries aim to derive 100 percent of their electricity from renewable sources by 2020, indicating that this goal has already been achieved by some 20 million Germans living in the 100 percent renewable energy regions.

The report relies on up-to-date renewable energy data, provided by an international network of more than 500 contributors, researchers, and authors