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Global renewables to grow 5.8 %/yr to 2017: IEA

According to reports, global power generation from renewables will grow by an average 5.8 per cent a year from 2011 to 2017, buoyed by supportive policies and falling costs in several countries, the International Energy Agency (IEA) said in a report on Thursday.

Electricity generation from renewables should rise to nearly 6,400 terrawatt hours (TWh) by 2017 from 4,540 TWh in 2011, said the Paris-based IEA, which advises industrialised nations on energy issues.

  This compares with 5 per cent growth a year in 2005-2011. In spite of the economic crisis and renewables subsidy cuts in some countries, renewables will continue to expand over the medium term, mainly driven by developing nations, the IEA said.

“Emerging and developing markets outside the OECD are driving much of the expected growth, with their contribution to accelerate over the coming years,” IEA executive director Maria van der Hoeven said in the report.

Out of eight renewable technologies, solar photovoltaic should grow the most – at 27.4 per cent a year – to 230 GW of capacity in 2017 from 70 GW in 2011.

Solar PV power should become even more competitive with retail electricity prices, and systems should become easier to install, leading to increased deployment in residential and commercial sectors, as well as larger-scale utility projects.

Overall, however, solar technologies will only account for 4.9 per cent of global renewables generation by 2017, the IEA said.

Wind power should account for a larger share, at 16.7 per cent, and its capacity should grow by 15.6 per cent a year to 2017. Onshore wind will make up 90 per cent of that growth and its capacity should at least double to 460 GW in 2011-2017 from 2005-2011.

“Onshore wind has emerged as a mature technology, which is increasingly competitive with conventional alternatives…China should lead capacity growth, adding 104 GW over 2011-2017,” the report forecast.

Bioenergy, including biomass, biogas and liquid biofuels, should account for 8.3 per cent of renewable electricity in 2017, with capacity rising by 9.6 per cent a year to 119 GW in 2017.

Geothermal power capacity should rise by 4.2 per cent a year to 14 GW in 2017, but it will continue to account for a very small amount of renewables generation at 1.4 per cent by 2017.

Hydropower will continue to contribute the most to global renewable generation by 2017, at 70 per cent, but capacity will grow slower than other technologies at 3.1 per cent per year to 1,070 GW by 2017.

Hydropower will still be economically attractive in countries with good resources, and there is a large amount of potential globally which has yet to be tapped, the report said.

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