Recent progress

Modern renewable sources (excluding traditional uses of biomass) have grown at a faster pace than global energy consumption, allowing the share of modern renewables in total final energy consumption to increase marginally to 11.5 % in 2019, from 11.1% in 2018. If traditional uses of biomass is included, renewable sources accounted for 17.7% in 2019 of global final energy consumption, slightly up from 17.3% in 2018.

Taking into account current and planned policies, as modelled in IEA’s Stated Policies Scenario, the share of total final consumption of modern renewables is expected to reach 18% by 2030. This is well below the 32% share needed in 2030 for the world to be on track with the Net Zero Emissions by 2050 Scenario.

Modern renewable share in total final energy consumption

This indicator is derived from energy data sourced on a joint dataset built by the International Energy Agency and the United Nations Statistics Division.

Hydro remains by far the largest source of renewable power globally, followed by wind and solar PV. Wind and solar PV have seen the fastest growth rates among renewable electricity sources and together are responsible for more than half of the increase in renewable electricity consumption observed over the past 10 years, with renewables now accounting for over one-quarter of total generation. Modern bioenergy accounts for over 30% of total final renewable energy consumption due to its use as a fuel for heat and transport, and to a lesser extent, power generation.

Modern bioenergy figures exclude the traditional uses of biomass, low-efficiency fuelwood, charcoal and organic waste used for heating and cooking, which is largely concentrated in Asia, sub-Saharan Africa and other developing countries. Traditional uses of biomass – which is a major contributor to household air pollution and related premature deaths – now accounts for 6% of total final energy consumption, down from 9% in 2000. In absolute terms, its use has slightly increased since 2010 due to population growth in developing countries outpacing slow improvements in access to clean cooking solutions.

Outlook for modern renewables

In the Stated Policies Scenario, the share of modern renewables reaches around 18% of total final energy consumption in 2030. In the 10 years to 2030, Europe sees the largest progression in its share of modern renewables across all regions, with an increase of 9.3 percentage points, followed by sub-Saharan Africa (6.4 points), and North America (5.4 points). In this scenario, renewable sources represent 42% of total electricity generation by 2030 and renewable-based electricity generation accounts for 60% of all modern renewable energy consumption globally at that date. The direct use of renewables in end-use sectors also expands in the Stated Policies Scenario, albeit at a slower pace. By 2030, the use of modern bioenergy for heating and transport approaches 25 EJ, accounting for 35% of modern renewable energy consumption in 2030.

Achieving the objectives of SDG target 7.2 requires significant acceleration in the reliance on renewable energy. In the Net Zero Emissions Scenario, the share of modern renewables in total final energy consumption increases at more than three times the rate observed since 2000, reaching 32% by 2030. Electricity generation from renewables, led by wind and solar PV, accounts for 60% of the total increase in the use of modern renewable energy with renewables representing more than half of global electricity generation in 2030. Direct use of modern bioenergy for heat and transport accounts for 25% of modern renewable energy use in 2030, while solar thermal and geothermal together account for another 20%. The remaining 55% is from renewable electricity.