Bioenergy leads renewable charge

The modern bioenergy sector is set to experience the largest growth of all renewables through to 2023, according to a new report released by the International Energy Agency.

Renewables will continue their expansion in the next five years, covering 40% of global energy consumption growth, according to the IEA’s Renewables 2018 market analysis and forecast report.

“Modern bioenergy is the overlooked giant of the renewable energy field,” said Dr Fatih Birol, the IEA’s Executive Director.

“Its share in the world’s total renewables consumption is about 50% today, in other words as much as hydro, wind, solar and all other renewables combined. We expect modern bioenergy will continue to lead the field, and has huge prospects for further growth. But the right policies and rigorous sustainability regulations will be essential to meet its full potential.”

The IEA report focusses on what it calls “blind spots” in the international energy system, which it describes as issues that are critical to the evolution of the energy sector but that receive less attention than they deserve.

The report also found that China leads global growth in renewable energy as a result of policies to decarbonise all sectors and reduce harmful local air pollution, and becomes the largest consumer of renewable energy, surpassing the European Union by 2023.

Meanwhile, solar PV dominates renewable electricity capacity expansion. Renewable capacity additions of 178 gigawatts (GW) in 2017 broke another record, accounting for more than two-thirds of global net electricity capacity growth for the first time.

The Renewables 2018 report is available here