Renewable Energy

What happened to global renewable energy consumption between 2010 and 2012?

The growth of renewable energy final consumption continued to accelerate in recent years, but to achieve the Sustainable Energy For All (SE4All) objective, the rate of progress will need to increase over 50 percent.

  • The share of renewables in the global energy mix grew from 17.8 percent in 2010 to 18.1 percent. This annual 0.17 percentage point share increase falls short of the 0.89 percentage point increase needed to achieve the objective (figure 1).
  • Annual growth of renewable energy consumption stood at 2.4 percent over the tracking period, but the annual growth to attain the SE4All objective in renewable energy—including traditional uses of solid biofuels—is estimated at 3.8 percent (see figure 2).
  • Annual growth of modern renewable energy consumption (which excludes solid biofuels used for traditional purposes) stood even higher at a rate of 4 percent. Still, an annual growth rate of 7.5% would be required to attain the SE4ALllobjective with modern renewables (see figure 2).
  • Annual volume of renewable energy consumption increased 2.9 exajoules (EJ), equivalent to energy consumption of Pakistan or Thailand in 2012.
  • Among end uses, the uptake of renewable energy was stronger in electricity generation than in heat production or transport. 
  • Renewable energy technologies accounted for half of all capacity additions.
  • Technology costs helped foster growth of renewable consumption. In particular, solar PV (photovoltaic) saw rapidly declining costs, with PV module prices halving.

Figure 1: Average annual increase of renewable energy share, actual and required

Renewable Energy

Figure 2: Compound annual growth rate of energy consumption - total, renewable and modern renewable

Renewable Energy

Tracking Renewable Energy

SE4All objective
BulletDouble the share of renewable energy in the global energy mix


Central indicator
BulletPercentage of total final energy consumption from renewable resources


Indicator baseline 2010


Indicator status 2012


Indicator target 2010