Renewables contributed almost half of the world's new power generation capacity in 2014 and have already become the second-largest source of electricity, behind coal, according to the International Energy Agency's (IEA) 2015 World Energy Outlook publication.
The report also stresses the importance of the upcoming COP21 event in Paris, which the IEA calls ‘crucial.’
In advance of the December meeting, over 150 countries – representing 90% of global economic activity and nearly 90% of energy-related greenhouse-gas emissions – have submitted pledges to reduce emissions. The IEA says the pledges are rich in commitments on renewables and energy efficiency, and this is reflected in the report's finding that renewables are set to become the leading source of new energy supply from now to 2040. In fact, the report says renewables are expected to overtake coal as the largest source of electricity generation by the early 2030s.
By 2014, the report forecasts, renewables-based generation will reach 50% in the European Union, around 30% in China and Japan, and above 25% in the U.S. and India.
‘As the largest source of global greenhouse-gas emissions, the energy sector must be at the heart of global action to tackle climate change,’ says IEA Executive Director Fatih Birol. ‘World leaders meeting in Paris must set a clear direction for the accelerated transformation of the global energy sector. The IEA stands ready to support the implementation of an agreement reached in Paris with all of the instruments at our disposal, to track progress, promote better policies and support the technology innovation that can fulfil the world's hopes for a safe and sustainable energy future.’