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December 11, 2002

IEA Documents Renewable Energy History and Looks Ahead to 2030

The International Energy Agency (IEA) recently published two documents on renewable energy—one documenting the past, and the other looking ahead to the future.

IEA's new "Renewable Energy 2002" is IEA's first comprehensive report on the progress of renewable energy markets in developed countries. The report examines renewable energy use from 1990 to 2000, and finds that despite a growing use of renewable energy, the share of energy provided by renewable energy sources stayed fairly steady over the ten-year span. Overall, renewable energy use increased by 1.8 percent per year in developed countries, but with growing energy use, the percentage of total energy produced from renewable energy sources only increased from 5.9 percent to 6.0 percent. Wind and solar power are growing faster than all other renewable energy sources, at annual rates of 22.4 percent and 28.9 percent, respectively. Extensive details are provided in the full 166-page report, which the IEA is making available for free. See the IEA Web site or go directly to the full report (PDF 858 KB). Download Acrobat Reader.

IEA also published a 12-page booklet in November that presents the outlook for renewable energy sources through 2030. The booklet draws on the IEA's "World Energy Outlook 2002" to conclude that renewable energy's contribution to energy use throughout the world will drop from 13.8 percent in 2000 to 12.5 percent in 2030. This is misleading, however, since much of that energy is traditional uses of biomass (such as wood) for heating and cooking in developing countries. In developed countries, renewable energy's contribution is expected to increase to 8 percent of total energy use by 2030. See the IEA fact sheet (PDF 332 KB).

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