In May REN21 published their annual report on the global state of renewables in 2018. Renewable energy technologies have seen a relatively stable market and the increase of new capacities remains constant. Main progresses have been achieved in the power sector, while heating, cooling and transport have seen far less growth, according to the report. A lack of policy support and slow development of new technologies causes the comparatively slow uptake of renewables in heating and cooling. In the transport sector, renewable energy penetration remains low, even though the market for electric vehicles is growing significantly. With 181 GW newly added capacity in the power sector the increase remains constant, following years of growth. Due to stable policies, renewable energies accounted for an estimated 26% of global electricity generation by the end of the year.
However, the political framework conditions in all energy sectors are still far from achieving international goals. Policies such as carbon pricing are expanding but cover just about 13% of global emissions. The world is not on track to meet the targets of the Paris Agreement and the SDGs. Global carbon emissions increased by 1.7% in 2018 due to an increase in fuel consumption. Subsidies for fossil fuels increased by 11% compared to 2017 and lobby organisations continued to spend hundreds of millions of dollars to block or delay climate change policies and to influence public opinion.
Nevertheless, renewable energy has been established as a mainstream source of electricity in recent years. In total, the renewable energy sector employed (directly and indirectly) around 11 million people worldwide in 2018. A strong driver in the deployment of renewables were developing and emerging economies, expanding energy access to remote households while providing more than half of all investment globally.
Find more information and the report here.