Global forecast for 40% renewables rise by 2017
Global renewable energy will increase by 40% as green power "comes of age", according to the International Energy Agency (IEA).
In its first ever report on the market, the IEA has forecast "rapid growth" over the next five years with global power generation from hydropower, solar, wind and other renewable sources projected to rise by more than 40% to almost 6,400 terawatt hours (TWh).
The new study Medium-Term Renewable Energy Market Report 2012 predicts particularly strong growth for renewable electricity, which could expand by 1,840 TWh between 2011 and 2017, almost 60% above the 1,160 TWh growth registered between 2005 and 2011.
The findings have been welcomed by UK organisations. RenewableUK said the report outlines "the clear potential for further deployment of renewable energy sources, both worldwide and in the UK".
However a Committee on Climate Change study last week showed there has only been a third of the annual investment required in onshore and offshore wind required by the end of the decade.
The report's release comes amid profound changes and uncertainties around the world. Governments in several key markets are deliberating significant changes to renewable policies and deeper electricity market reforms as renewable deployment scales up.
Some parts of the renewables industry are also going through a period of dramatic upheaval, with supply chains restructuring and shifting geographically while delivering cost reductions.
Ultimately, however, such consolidation should lead to a "more mature and robust renewable sector", said the IEA.
"Renewable energy is expanding rapidly as technologies mature, with deployment transitioning from support-driven markets to new and potentially more competitive segments in many countries," said executive director Maria van der Hoeven.