Yet another seal of approval by the recent WEC in Istanbul was probably not necessary, but if it were needed, the event held in Turkey confirmed, through the voice of the Executive Chairman of the World Energy Resources, Hans-Wilhelm Schiffer, that renewable energies are now, more than ever, on the rise. This was revealed by a recently published report by the WER, according to which the total global power generation capacity based on renewables has doubled in the last ten years, from 1,037 GW in 2006 to 1,985 GW to the end of 2015. This increase was caused by record usage, especially of wind and solar power capacity, to generate electricity. Wind power capacity increased globally from 74 GW in 2006 to 432 GW in 2015 (420 GW onshore and 12 GW offshore), while solar power increased, over the same period, from 6 GW to 227 GW. Global hydropower capacity has grown by 35% since 2006, from 893 GW to 1,209 GW in 2015, of which 154 GW through pumping. Hydroelectric power, which supplied 71% of all renewable electricity in 2015, is the main renewable source for global electricity generation. 15% of the total production of renewable electricity in 2015 was based on wind, 5% on solar power and 9% on biomass, geothermal power and other energy sources combined. Total electricity generation based on renewables was 5,559 TWh in 2015, corresponding to 23% of total global electricity generation, amounting to 24,098 TWh.
A great opportunity for growth
"The energy scene has undergone a change that has seen most countries achieve a more diversified energy mix, in addition to a growth in community property and an evolution in their micro networks", said Schiffer. The WER report noted how the diversification of technologies and resources, now used in the energy industry, may create great opportunities, but greater complexity also leads to a greater number of challenges. "With the existing level of volatility", continued Schiffer "relying on concrete facts and data as the basis for a strategic decision-making process by relevant stakeholders, such as, for instance, governments, companies and international organizations, is becoming even more important than in the past". Christoph Frei, Secretary General of the World Energy Council, commented on how "in the last decade we have witnessed a significant increase in non-conventional resources and an equally significant improvement in technology in the renewable energy sector. Oil will, however, continue to be a leading source of energy, necessary, above all, for the transport industry, given that it supplies over 60% of energy, and the golden age of gas will continue with an increase in production expected to be between 25% and 70% by 2060". The report clarifies that renewable sources, such as solar, wind and hydroelectric power currently account for approximately 30% of the total installed power generation capacity and 23% of total global electricity production, and that this will continue to grow. "However," noted Frei "there is an urgent need for further progress for potential action on energy efficiency, storage of electricity, and capture and storage of carbon dioxide".