In June 2004, delegates from 154 countries gathered in Bonn, Germany, for the world's first government-hosted international conference on renewable energy. Global perceptions of renewables have shifted considerably over the past decade. Continuing technology advances and rapid deployment of many renewable energy technologies have demonstrated their immense potential.
Today, renewables are seen not only as sources of energy, but also as tools to address many other pressing needs, including: improving energy security; reducing the health and environmental impacts associated with fossil and nuclear energy; mitigating greenhouse gas emissions; improvingeducational opportunities; creating jobs; reducing poverty; and increasing gender equality.
Renewables have entered the mainstream. This is welcome news as we begin the Decade of Sustainable Energy for All (SE4ALL), mobilising towards universal access to modern energy services, improved rates of energy efficiency, and expanded use of renewable energy sources by 2030. While this year's Renewables Global Status Report (GSR) clearly documents advancements in the uptake of renewables, it also demonstrates that we need to move faster and more deliberately if we are to double the share of renewables in the global energy mix and ensure access to clean and sustainable energy for all people by 2030.
The past decade has also seen the evolution of REN21 and its community into a robust, dynamic, international network of renewable energy experts. The collective work of REN21's contributors, researchers, and authors has made the GSR the most frequently referenced report on renewable energy market, industry, and policy trends. Special thanks go to the ever-growing network of contributors, including authors, researchers, and reviewers, who participated in this year's process and helped make the GSR a truly international and collaborative effort.
On behalf of the REN21 Secretariat, I would like to thank all of those who ensured the successful production of GSR 2014. These people include lead author/research director Janet Sawin, the section authors, GSR project manager Rana Adib, and the entire team at the REN21 Secretariat, under the leadership of REN21's Executive Secretary Christine Lins.
The past decade has set the wheels in motion for a global transition to renewables, but a concerted and sustained effort is needed to achieve it. With increasingly ambitious targets and innovative policies, renewables can continue to surpass expectations and create a clean and sustainable energy future. As this year's GSR clearly demonstrates, the question is no longer whether renewables have a role to play in the provision of energy services, but rather how we can best increase the current pace to achieve a 100% renewables future with full energy access for all.
Chairman of REN21
REN21. 2014. Renewables 2014 Global Status Report
(Paris: REN21 Secretariat).
RENEWABLE ENERGY POLICY NETWORK FOR THE 21st CENTURY
REN21 is the global renewable energy policy multi-stakeholder network that connects a wide range of key actors. REN21's goal is to facilitate knowledge exchange, policy development and joint action towards a rapid global transition to renewable energy.
REN21 brings together governments, nongovernmental organisations, research and academic institutions, international organisations and industry to learn from one another and build on successes that advance renewable energy. To assist policy decision making, REN21 provides high quality information, catalyses discussion and debate and supports the development of thematic networks.
→ PROVIDE HIGH-QUALITY INFORMATION TO DRIVE INFORMED POLICY DECISIONS
Using its multi-stakeholder network, REN21 facilitates the collection of comprehensive and timely information on renewable energy. This information reflects diverse viewpoints from both private and public sector actors, serving to dispel myths about renewable energy and catalysing policy change.
Renewables Global Status Report (GSR)
First released in 2005, REN21's Renewables Global Status Report (GSR) has grown to become a truly collaborative effort, drawing on an international network of over 500 authors, contributors, and reviewers. Today it is the most frequently referenced report on renewable energy market, industry, and policy trends.
REN21 produces thematic reports which aim to provide in-depth analysis about a topic and stimulate discussion:
- Renewables Global Futures Report (GFR)
- Local Renewable Energy Policies Status Report
- 10 Years of Accelerating the Global Energy Transition
- Mini-Grid Policy Toolkit
These reports detail the renewable energy developments of a particular region; their production also supports regional data collection processes and informed decision making.
Renewables Interactive Map
The Renewables Interactive Map is a research tool for tracking the development of renewable energy worldwide. It complements the perspectives and findings of the GSR by providing constantly updated market and policy information and detailed exportable country profiles.
→ INITIATE DISCUSSION AND DEBATE TO DRIVE POLITICAL COMMITMENT
International Renewable Energy Conferences (IRECs)
The International Renewable Energy Conference (IREC) is a high-level political conference series. Dedicated exclusively to the renewable energy sector, the biennial IREC is hosted by a national government and convened by REN21. SAIREC 2015 will be held in South Africa, 4-7 October 2015.
The REN21 Renewables Academy provides an opportunity for lively exchange among the growing community of REN21 contributors. It offers a venue to brainstorm on future-orientated policy solutions and allows participants to actively contribute on issues central to the renewable energy transition.
Thematic workshops, panel discussions and webinars
REN21 convenes and participates in a series of workshops, panel discussions, and webinars to spread information on renewable energy globally.
→ STRENGTHEN AND LEVERAGE REN21'S MULTI-STAKEHOLDER BASE
- Broad dissemination of activities of the REN21 Secretariat as well as network members through four editions of the REN21 newsletter.
- In-depth information for members through the REN21 newswire.
- Dynamic interaction with key institutional partners such as IEA, IRENA, SE4ALL, and UNEP.