The Renewable Energy Policy Network for the 21st Century (REN21) says renewable energy is expected to grow exponentially over the next five years.
REN21 is co-hosting the International Renewable Energy Conference with the Department of Energy in Cape Town this week. More than 3 000 delegates from 28 countries will be looking at advancing discussions around renewable energy.
REN21’s Executive Secretary, Christine Lins, says she is optimistic that mainly wind and solar renewables will be the new largest electricity sources in the decade to come. She says the development has been very rapid, with $270 billion invested in renewable energy globally, on an annual basis.
According to Lins, there are 7.7 million people employed by the renewable industry, adding that over 164 countries in the world have renewable energy policy frameworks and targets. She says that “this is a rapid increase compared to how the situation was 10 years ago.”
Among issues to be discussed at the conference is how renewables can be deployed more rapidly on the African continent. The four-day gathering officially gets underway on Monday.
South Africa is the first African country and the sixth, internationally, to host the conference.
Lins has expressed their excitement to be in the country, saying they are looking forward to cutting edge debate on how on the one hand integrate renewable energy in existing systems and also to advance access to energy with renewables as 15% of the global population still lack access to energy.