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IEA: Renewable Electricity Generation to Grow 40% in Five Years

Renewable electricity generation should grow by 1,840 TWh between 2011 and 2017, almost 60 percent above the 1,160 TWh growth reported between 2005 and 2011 – and a 40 percent increase over current levels, according to a study by the International Energy Agency (IEA).

The IEA says despite economic uncertainties in many countries, global power generation from hydropower, bioenergy, onshore wind, offshore wind, solar photovoltaics, concentrating solar power, geothermal and ocean power will accelerate. It also predicts renewable power generation will increasingly shift from the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries to new markets, with non-OECD countries accounting for two-thirds of this growth.

Of the 710 GW of new global renewable electricity capacity expected by 2017, China accounts for almost 40 percent, the study says. It also projects significant deployment in the United States, India, Germany and Brazil, among others.

This growth is underpinned by the maturing of a portfolio of renewable energy technologies, in large part due to supportive policy and market frameworks in OECD countries. However, IEA reports that increasing electricity demand and energy security needs in recent years have been spurring deployment in large and small emerging markets as well.

Other key findings include:

  • Hydropower continues to account for the majority of renewable generation and it will see the largest absolute growth (+730 TWh) of any single renewable technology over 2011-17, largely driven by non-OECD countries.
  • Non-hydropower renewable technologies continue to scale up quickly. Between 2011 and 2017, generation from these technologies will increase by more than 1,100 TWh, with growth equally split between OECD and non-OECD countries.
  • Onshore wind, bioenergy and solar PV will see the largest increases, respectively, in generation after hydropower. Offshore wind and CSP grow quickly from low bases. Geothermal will continue to develop in areas with good resources. Ocean technologies will take important steps towards commercialization.

The study, “Medium-Term Renewable Energy Market Report 2012,” completes a series of IEA medium-term market reports also featuring oil, natural gas and coal.

A report by Pike Research published in May forecast worldwide investment by the mining industry in renewable energy and energy conservation will reach about $8.4 billion by 2016 and nearly $20 billion by 2020.

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