Boasting 336 pages, 60 graphs and tables and 350 contributing experts, the recently published Renewables 2019 Global Status Report offers what is probably the most detailed overview of the state of the energy transition to date. In its report, the Renewable Energy Policy Network for the 21st Century (REN21) examines the use of renewables in the heat supply, transport and power generation sectors on a global level. The study takes a detailed look at a whole host of countries – from Albania to Zimbabwe.
From this proverbial flood of information, the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi) has summarised a number of important findings in a report (in German). The BMWi finds it particularly noteworthy that Germany has been numbered amongst the top three nations twice in the Renewables 2019 Global Status Report.
On the one hand, the Federal Republic, with its 113 gigawatts (GW), ranked third in the world in terms of electricity generation capacity in 2018. Only the People’s Republic of China at 404 GW and the US at 180 GW have more renewable capacity (important to note: This calculation does not take hydropower into account, so the figures differ considerably from other studies, e.g. the survey conducted by the International Energy Agency). According to the report, China therefore has more capacity than the European Union as a whole.
On the other hand, Germany has been recognised as being the industry leader when it comes to renewable capacity per capita. In terms of figures, this means that 1.4 kilowatts (kW) is allotted to each German citizen, which leaves larger countries such as the US (0.6 kW) and China (0.3 kW) in the dust. Worldwide, the average is 0.2 kW. This means that no other country in the world has more wind turbines, PV installations and biogas plants per capita than the Federal Republic.
Germany is not the only country focussing increasingly on renewables. According to the report, more renewable energy capacity was installed in the electricity sector in 2018 even compared to fossil and nuclear combined. As such, a total of 100 GW of solar energy capacity was installed. However, the authors of the Renewables 2019 Global Status Report see room for improvement in other sectors: Renewable energy usage is still lacking in heating, cooling and transport applications.
Photo credits: Renewables 2019 Global Status Report, © REN21