There are two ways to look at renewable energy today. On the one hand, falling costs and strong policies are promoting the rapid spread of solar energy and wind power all across the world. Solar power is one of the few bright spots among clean energy technologies as the world transitions away from fossil fuels. On the other hand, renewables make up only a fraction of global energy consumption. In the power sector, they still compete with fossil-fuel power plants; in the heat and transport sectors, which account for 80% of energy consumption, renewables still play a relatively marginal role. The potential for increasing the role of renewables is massive: biofuels can be scaled up in transport, while bioenergy, solar thermal and geothermal energy can produce a larger share of heat for buildings and industry. Greater electrification, coupled with the increase in renewable electricity generation, is a key route to decarbonisation. However, to realise this potential, strong policies, research, innovation and investment are needed. Only in this way will renewables be able to contribute to the emission reductions demanded by the Paris Climate Agreement and help us meet the Sustainable Development Goals, meant to provide access to affordable and reliable energy for all.
About the Author
About the European Investment Bank The European Investment Bank is the world's biggest multilateral lender. The only bank owned by and representing the interests of the EU countries, the EIB finances Europe's economic growth. Over six decades the Bank has backed start-ups like Skype and massive schemes like the Øresund Bridge linking Sweden and Denmark. Headquartered in Luxembourg, the EIB Group includes the European Investment Fund, a specialist financer of small and medium-sized enterprises.