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The REN21 Renewables 2019 Global Status Report (GSR 2019) marks 15 years since Bonn2004, the landmark international conference that gave rise to REN21. From the outset, REN21’s mandate has been to collect, consolidate, and synthesize a vast body of renewable energy data to provide clear and reliable information on what is happening in real time. The GSR 2019, which was published on June 18, 2019, provides an overview of the latest developments on the renewable energy transition through the end of 2018.

The evidence from 2018 clearly indicates that renewable power is going to prosper. Solar photovoltaics (PV) and wind are now mainstream options in the power sector, with an increasing number of countries generating more than 20% of their electricity with solar PV and wind. Cities progressively are strong drivers in renewable energy deployment, adopting some of the most ambitious targets for renewables globally. The underlying data and information in GSR 2019 show that an array of opportunities exists to extend the benefits of the energy transition throughout the economy. These opportunities, overarching trends, and developments are detailed in the complementary Perspectives on the Global Renewable Energy Transition, which has been written to help readers more easily grasp the significance of the latest renewable energy developments. Together, these two publications make a powerful statement about the central role of renewables in establishing a sustainable energy future. These publications are the product of the collective work of a robust and dynamic international community of renewable energy contributors, researchers, and authors, making the GSR a truly collaborative effort. Achieving 2030 development objectives means mobilizing people to think critically about the energy sector, starting with making renewable energy relevant to decision makers both inside and outside of the energy world. The report confirms that the global energy transition is well underway in the power sector as more renewable capacity was installed than fossil fuel and nuclear power combined for the fourth consecutive year. The cost of renewable electricity continued to decrease throughout 2018.   Unlike the power sector, the heating and cooling sector and the transport sector, which together account for about 80% of global total final energy demand, are still lagging behind. The breakthrough could be achieved by cutting fossil fuel subsidies and implementing ambitious policy and regulatory frameworks to drive decarbonization across these sectors. The status report highlights some of the main political developments in Europe:

-More than 15% of annual electricity generation came from wind power and solar PV as a result of renewable deployment, and

-Emissions related to electricity production fell 5%

The European Union became the only region in the world, where heat demand is declining, given the supporting policies of energy efficiency that continued advancing the share of renewable heat in buildings to 22%. In addition to that, the shares of renewables in district heating rose above 50% in Norway, Sweden, Lithuania, France and Denmark. 

Some other highlights of the report are as follows:

-More than 1 GW of renewable power capacity was installed by more than 90 countries, and 30 countries had more than 10 GW;

-The global renewable energy uptake no longer depends on just a few countries;

-Cities are becoming significant drivers in renewable energy deployment due to their ambitious targets, which in several cases exceeded national and state or provincial initiatives;

-Several incentives were implemented in the transport sector, such as sustainable biofuels, EVs, and fuel economy policies that are reducing overall fossil fuel dependency in the transport sector;

-Despite the efforts of 44 national governments, 21 states/provinces and 7 cities, which implemented carbon pricing policies, just 13% of global CO2  emissions were covered by the end of 2018;

-The imbalance between energy sectors (especially heating, cooling and transport sectors) is largely due to insufficient or unstable policy support. Therefore, there is a significant opportunity for countries to scale up support of renewables REN21 is an international policy network of experts from governments, intergovernmental organizations, industry associations, NGOs, and science and academia. It grows from year to year and represents an increasing diversity of sectors. REN21 provides a platform for this wide-ranging community to exchange information and ideas, to learn from each other and to collectively build the renewable energy future. This network enables the REN21 Secretariat to, among other activities, produce its annual flagship publication, the Renewables Global Status Report (GSR), making the report process a truly collaborative effort.


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