Report: Renewable Energy Capacity Grew 7.9% in 2018

by | Apr 10, 2019

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Renewable energy capacity grew 7.9% during 2018, according to a recent report from the International Renewable Energy Agency (IREA). At the end of 2018, there was 2,351 GW of global renewable generation capacity.

The report notes that hydro accounted for the largest share of the global total, with an installed capacity of 1 172 GW. Wind and solar energy accounted for most of the remainder, with capacities of 564 GW and 486 GW respectively. Other renewables included 115 GW of bioenergy, 13 GW of geothermal energy and 500 MW of marine energy (tide, wave and ocean energy).

The report breaks down power generation aspects as follows:

  • Hydropower: Growth in hydro continued to slow, with only China adding a significant amount of new capacity in 2018 (+8.5 GW).
  • Wind energy: China and the USA continued to account for most expansion in wind energy, with increases of 20 GW and 7 GW respectively. Other countries expanding by more than 1 GW were: Brazil; France; Germany; India; and the UK.
  • Bioenergy: Three countries accounted for over half of the relatively low level of bioenergy capacity expansion in 2018. China increased capacity by 2 GW and India by 700 MW. Capacity also increased in the UK by 900 MW, with the completion of some conversions of fossil fuel power stations to use solid biofuels.
  • Solar energy: Asia continued to dominate the global solar capacity expansion with a 64 GW increase (about 70% of the global expansion in 2018). In a repeat of last year, China, India, Japan and Republic of Korea accounted for most of this. Other major increases were in the USA (+8,4 GW), Australia (+3.8 GW) and Germany (+3.6 GW). Other countries with smaller markets and significant expansions in 2018 included: Brazil; Egypt; Pakistan; Mexico, Turkey and the Netherlands.
  • Geothermal energy: Geothermal power capacity increased by +539 MW in 2018. As before, most of this expansion occurred in Turkey (+219 MW) and Indonesia (+137 MW), followed by the USA, Mexico and New Zealand.
  • Off-grid electricity: Off-grid capacity in 2018 was 8.8 GW, with an increase of 390 MW during the year (+5%). The time-series for off-grid generating capacity continues to rise each year, as new generating plants are discovered or reported by countries. Just over half of this capacity is located in biomass processing facilities and another one-third is off-grid solar PV generation. Solar mini- grids and household devices each account for about 15% of the off-grid solar capacity and the remaining 70% is used in non-residential applications. Preliminary figures suggest that the expansion of solar mini-grids has slowed in the last two years, but growth trends in the other end-uses remain stable.

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