An estimated 22.1% of the world’s electricity was generated from renewable sources in 2013, according to a renewables global status report from the Renewable Energy Policy Network, the Wall Street Journal has reported. The overall figure is expected to increase in coming years, as investment in renewable energy increases worldwide, and costs decrease in key renewable technologies, such as solar.
Worldwide, hydropower accounts for 16.4% of electricity generation; other sources such as solar and wind make up 5.7%. The share of renewable energy generated in different countries varies significantly, with some countries generating a great deal of renewable energy, and others very little. The United States generated 13% from renewable sources, which is considerably lower than the world average, but ranks second for annual investment in renewable energy; notably, China is now first.
Although the majority of renewable energy is sourced from hydropower, that situation could well change in coming decades, with world solar power capacity growing exponentially, and costs decreasing rapidly. To continue that trend, another huge year has been tipped for solar power in 2014, and it has been revealed that approximately 31% of Germany’s electricity came from renewable energy during the first half of 2014.
The outlook is so strong that even the historically conservative International Energy Agency has calculated that solar energy could account for the majority of the world’s power by 2060.