Global Status Report
The year 2016 saw several developments and ongoing trends that all have a bearing on renewable energy, including the continuation of comparatively low global fossil fuel prices; dramatic price declines of several renewable energy technologies; and a continued increase in attention to energy storage. For the third consecutive year, global energy-related carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuels and industry were nearly flat in 2016, due largely to declining coal use worldwide but also due to improvements in energy efficiency and to increasing use of renewable energy.
As of 2015, renewable energy provided an estimated 19.3% of global final energy consumption, and growth in capacity and production continued in 2016. The power sector experienced the greatest increases in renewable energy capacity in 2016, whereas the growth of renewables in the heating and cooling and transport sectors was comparatively slow. Most new renewable energy capacity is installed in developing countries, and largely in China, the single largest developer of renewable power and heat over the past eight years.
In 2016, renewable energy spread to a growing number of developing and emerging economies, some of which have become important markets. For the more than 1 billion people without access to electricity, distributed renewable energy projects, especially those in rural areas far from the centralised grid, offer important and often costeffective options to provide such access. The renewable energy sector employed 9.8 million people in 2016, an increase of 1.1% over 2015...
Government policy at all levels remained important for renewable energy developments. The 2015 Paris Agreement of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) formally entered into force at the 22nd Conference of the Parties (COP22) in November 2016. However, renewable energy markets were affected only indirectly during the year. A number of governments implemented new renewable energy targets, and several cities established new commitments to 100% renewable energy. Despite the importance of the heat and transport sectors to energy demand and global emissions, policy makers focused predominantly on the power sector.