Technology Roadmap: Solar Photovoltaic Energy - 2014 edition

Release date: 2014

Solar energy is widely available throughout the world and can contribute to reduced dependence on energy imports. As it entails no fuel price risk or constraints, it also improves security of supply. Solar power enhances energy diversity and hedges against price volatility of fossil fuels, thus stabilising costs of electricity generation in the long term.

Solar PV entails no greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions during operation and does not emit other pollutants (such as oxides of sulphur and nitrogen); additionally, it consumes no or little water. As local air pollution and extensive use of fresh water for cooling of thermal power plants are becoming serious concerns in hot or dry regions, these benefits of solar PV become increasingly important.

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Technology Roadmap: Solar Thermal Electricity - 2014 edition

Release date: 2014

Concentrating solar plants (CSP) generate solar thermal electricity (STE) while producing no greenhouse gas emissions, so it could be a key technology for mitigating climate change. In addition, the flexibility of CSP plants enhances energy security. Unlike solar photovoltaic (PV) technologies, CSP plants use steam turbines, and thus can provide most needed ancillary services. Moreover, they can store thermal energy for later conversion to electricity. CSP plants can also be equipped with backup from fossil fuels delivering additional heat to the system. When combined with thermal storage capacity of several hours of full-capacity generation, CSP plants can continue to produce electricity even when clouds block the sun, or after sundown or in early morning when power demand steps up.

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Medium-Term Renewable Energy Market Report 2014

Release date: 2014

In 2013, renewable power capacity expanded at its fastest pace to date. Renewable power generation continued to grow strongly, reaching almost 22% of the global mix, compared with 21% in 2012 and 18% in 2007. Globally, renewable electricity generation is now on par with that of natural gas, which remained relatively stable in 2013. Investment in new renewable power capacity topped USD 250 billion globally in 2013 and is likely to remain at high levels.

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The Power of Transformation – Wind, Sun and The Economcis of Flexible Power Systems

Release date: 2014

Wind power and solar PV are expected to make a substantial contribution to a more secure and sustainable energy system. However, electricity generation from both technologies is constrained by the varying availability of wind and sunshine. This can make it challenging to maintain the necessary balance of electricity supply and consumption at all times. Consequently, the cost-effective integration of variable renewable energy (VRE) has become a pressing challenge for the energy sector.


A major finding of this publication is that large shares of VRE (up to 45% in annual generation) can be integrated without significantly increasing power system costs in the long run. However, cost-effective integration calls for a system-wide transformation: optimising system operation, investing in a mix of flexibility resources (grid infrastructure, flexible generation, storage and demand side integration) and deploying system friendly wind and solar power plants.

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Heating Without Global Warming

Release date: 2014

This paper highlights some of the dynamics of renewable energy use for heat in different markets, the status of different technologies and policy measures to efficiently promote renewable heat, and provides an outlook for the potential role of renewable heat in the medium- and long-term.

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Medium-Term Renewable Energy Market Report 2013

Release date: 2013

The Medium-Term Renewable Energy Market Report 2013 assesses market trends for the renewable electricity, biofuels for transport and renewable heat sectors, identifying drivers and challenges to deployment, and making projections through 2018. The analysis features in-depth renewable electricity market analysis and forecasts for a slate of countries in the OECD and non-OECD. The report also presents an outlook for renewable electricity technologies, global biofuels supply, final energy use of renewables for heat and prospects for renewable investment.

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Wind Energy - 2013 edition

Release date: 2013

The IEA Wind Power Technology Roadmap 2013 Edition recognises the very significant progress made since the first edition was published in 2009. The technology continues to improve rapidly, and costs of generation from land-based wind installations continue to fall. Wind power is now being deployed in countries with good resources without any dedicated financial incentives.

The 2013 Edition targets an increased share (15% to 18%) of global electricity to be provided by wind power in 2050, compared to 12% in the original roadmap of 2009. However, increasing levels of low-cost wind still require predictable, supportive regulatory environments and appropriate market designs. The challenges of integrating higher levels of variable wind power into the grid need to be addressed. For offshore wind, much remains to be done to develop appropriate large-scale systems and to reduce costs.

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Medium-Term Renewable Energy Market Report 2012

Release date: 2012

This Medium-Term Renewable Energy Market Report 2012, provides a key benchmark, assessing the current state of play of renewable energy, identifying the main drivers and barriers to deployment and projecting renewable energy electricity capacity and generation through 2017. Starting with an in-depth analysis of key country-level markets, which represent 80% of renewable electricity generation today, the report examines the prospects for renewable energy finance and provides a global outlook for each renewable electricity technology. The report analyses enablers and barriers to renewable energy deployment in detail, examining larger electricity market issues that have implications for renewable development, including country-level demand projections, anticipated changes in conventional generating capacity and power system integration.

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Bioenergy for Heat and Power

Release date: 2012

The Technology Roadmap Bioenergy for Heat and Power highlights the importance of bioenergy in providing heat in the buildings sector and in industry, and shows what contribution it could make to meeting steadily growing world electricity demand. The critical role of sustainability as well as the importance of international trade in meeting the projected demand for bioenergy, are highlighted in the roadmap, as well as the need for large-scale biomass plants in providing The roadmap identifies key actions by different stakeholders in the bioenergy sector, and sets out milestones for technology development in order to achieve a doubling of global bioenergy supply by 2050.

It addresses the need for further R&D efforts, highlights measures to ensure sustainability of biomass production, and underlines the need for international collaboration to enhance the production and use of sustainable, modern bioenergy in different world regions.

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Hydropower

Release date: 2012

The technology roadmap for Hydropower details action needed from policy makers to allow hydroelectric production to double, and addresses necessary conditions, including resolving environmental issues and gaining public acceptance.

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Solar heating and cooling

Release date: 2012

The solar heating and cooling (SHC) roadmap outlines a pathway for solar energy to supply almost one sixth (16.5 EJ) of the world’s total energy use for both heating and cooling by 2050. This would save some 800 megatonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions per year; more than the total CO2 emissions in Germany in 2009.

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Harnessing Variable Renewables

Release date: 2011

Written for decision makers, Harnessing Variable Renewables: a Guide to the Balancing Challenge sheds light on managing power systems with large shares of variable renewables. It presents a new, step-by-step approach developed by the IEA to assess the flexibility of power systems, which identifies the already present resources that could help meet the twin challenges of variability and uncertainty.

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Biofuels for Transport

Release date: 2011

The IEA “Biofuels for Transport” roadmap describes the steps necessary to achieve the ambitious biofuel projections presented in the Energy Technology Perspectives 2010 Blue Map scenario. Under this scenario, biofuel demand increases rapidly, reaching approximately 760 Mtoe (32 EJ) in 2050, a share of 27% of total transport fuel. This roadmap identifies major barriers, opportunities, and policy measures for policy makers, industry and financial partners to accelerate RDD&D efforts for sustainable biofuel technologies and ensure sustainable feedstock provision on both a national and international scale.

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Smart Grids

Release date: 2011

This roadmap provides a consensus view from more than 200 government, industry, academia and consumer representatives on the current status of smart grid technologies, and charts a course for expanding their use from today to 2050.

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Geothermal Heat and Power

Release date: 2011

The technology roadmap for Geothermal Heat and Power offers a strategic plan to maximise deployment of these energy resources by 2050. It projects that 1,400 TWh of electricity per year could come from geothermal power by 2050, up from 67 TWh at present.

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Renewable Energy: Policy Considerations for Deploying Renewables

Release date: 2011

This information paper accompanies the IEA publication Deploying Renewables 2011: Best and Future Policy Practice. It provides more detailed data and analysis on policies for Deploying Renewables, and is intended to complement the main publication.

It provides an account of the strategic drivers underpinning renewable energy (RE) technology deployment (energy security, economic development and environment protection) and assesses RE technologies with respect to these drivers, including an estimate of GHG emissions reductions due to RE technologies

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Renewable Energy: Markets and Prospects by Region

Release date: 2011

This information paper accompanies the IEA publication Deploying Renewables 2011: Best and Future Policy Practice. It provides more detailed data and analysis on policies for Deploying Renewables and is intended to complement the main publication.

This information paper provides an in-depth account of the regional markets and policy trends in all six focus regions; 56 countries in total. Each region is discussed with regards to:
• recent market developments in the electricity, heat and transport sector
• policy developments
• IEA projections
• an analysis of the mid-term (2030) potential of renewable energy technologies in these regions, and
• an analysis of the strategic drivers underpinning the deployment of RE in each region

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Renewable Energy: Markets and Prospects by Technology

Release date: 2011

This information paper accompanies the IEA publication Deploying Renewables 2011: Best and Future Policy Practice. It provides more detailed data and analysis on policies for Deploying Renewables and is intended to complement the main publication.

This paper provides a discussion of ten technology areas: bioenergy for electricity and heat, biofuels, geothermal energy, hydro energy, ocean energy, solar energy (solar photovoltaics, concentrating solar power, and solar heating), and wind energy (onshore and offshore).

Each technology discussion includes:

  • the current technical and market status
  • the current costs of energy production and cost trends
  • the policy environment
  • the potential and projections for the future and
  • an analysis of the prospects and key hurdles to future expansion

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Solar Energy Perspectives

Release date: 2011

This information paper accompanies the IEA publication Deploying Renewables 2011: Best and Future Policy Practice. It provides more detailed data and analysis on policies for Deploying Renewables and is intended to complement the main publication.

This information paper provides an in-depth account of the regional markets and policy trends in all six focus regions; 56 countries in total. Each region is discussed with regards to:

  • recent market developments in the electricity, heat and transport sector
    • policy developments
  • IEA projections
  • an analysis of the mid-term (2030) potential of renewable energy technologies in these regions, and
  • an analysis of the strategic drivers underpinning the deployment of RE in each region

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Concentrating Solar Power

Release date: 2010

Concentrating solar thermal power and fuels will be part of the energy technology revolution necessary to mitigate climate change while ensuring affordable energy supply. The ETP BLUE Map scenario, which assessed strategies for reducing greenhouse gas emissions by half in 2050, concluded that CSP will provide several percent of the necessary emissions reductions to achieve stabilisation in the most cost-effective manner. CSP requires strong sunshine and clear skies. Thanks to its thermal storage and hybridisation possibilities, CSP provides firm and dispatchable electricity.

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Solar Photovoltaic Energy

Release date: 2010

Solar Photovoltaic (PV) Power is a commercially available and reliable technology with a significant potential for long-term growth in nearly all world regions. This technology roadmap estimates that by 2050, PV could provide 11% of global electricity production and avoid 2.3 gigatonnes (Gt) of CO2 emissions per year.

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Sustainable Production of Second-Generation Biofuels

Release date: 2010

This study aims to identify opportunities and constraints related to the potential future production of second-generation biofuels in major economies and developing countries, and to examine under which conditions the new fuels could be produced sustainably in these countries. The paper identifies global drivers for second-generation biofuel development, discusses projections on biomass potentials and assesses the potential of agricultural and forestry residues for the sustainable production of lignocellulosic biofuels.

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Cities, Towns and Renewable Energy: Yes in my front yard

Release date: 2009

The goals of this report are to inspire city stakeholders by showing how renewable energy systems can benefit citizens and businesses, assist national governments to better appreciate the role that local municipalities might play in meeting national and international objectives, and help accelerate the necessary transition to a sustainable energy future.

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Empowering Variable Renewables, Options for Flexible Electricity Systems

Release date: 2008

This paper focuses on a portfolio of measures available with today’s technology to optimise access to and the use of this resource, through modification of the operation and design of electricity markets and transmission, thus enabling higher var-RE share.

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Deploying Renewables: Principles for Effective Policies

Release date: 2008

This analysis illustrates good practices by applying the combined metrics of effectiveness and efficiency to renewable energy policies in the electricity, heating and transport sectors. It highlights significant barriers to accelerating renewables penetration, and argues that the great potential of renewables can be exploited much more rapidly and to a much larger extent if good practices are adopted.

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Contribution of Renewables to Energy Security

Release date: 2007

This report aims to redress the balance, showing how in electricity generation, heat supply, and transport, renewables can enhance energy security and suggesting policies that can optimise this contribution.

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Renewables publications



Browse free renewables publications by subtopic:

Title Year Type Topic
Technology Roadmap: Solar Photovoltaic Energy - 2014 edition 2014 Free Solar
Technology Roadmap: Solar Thermal Electricity - 2014 edition 2014 Free Solar
Eastern Europe, Caucasus and Central Asia - Highlights 2014 Free Energy Market Reform, Energy Policy, Energy Security
World Energy Investment Outlook - Executive Summary - Korean version 2014 Translation: Climate change, coal, electricity, energy efficiency, energy security, natural gas, oil, renewables
World Energy Investment Outlook - Special Report 2014 Free Climate change, Energy security, Finance, Investment, Scenarios
Seamless Power Markets
Regional integration of electricity market in IEA member countries
2014 Free Energy policies, Electric, Energy poverty, Renewables, Electricity security, Market design
Heating Without Global Warming
Market Developments and Policy Considerations for Renewable Heat
2014 Free Heat, Renewables
Technology Roadmap: How2Guide for Wind Energy Roadmap
Development and Implementation
2014 Free Wind, Clean energy technologies
Energy Technology Initiatives - 2013 2013 Free Clean energy technologies, Non-member countries
Energy Policy Highlights 2013 2013 Free Energy policies, Energy efficiency, Renewables, Electricity
Technology Roadmap: Wind Energy - 2013 edition 2013 Free Wind
World Energy Outlook Special Report 2013: Southeast Asia Energy Outlook 2013 Free Energy security, Oil, Natural gas, Energy efficiency
Medium-Term Renewable Energy Market Report 2013: Market trends and projections to 2018 2013 Study (book) Electricity, Renewables, Transport
Global Tracking Framework 2013 Free Energy poverty, Renewables, Clean energy technologies, Energy efficiency, WEO
Tracking Clean Energy Progress 2013
IEA input to the Clean Energy Ministerial
2013 Free Clean energy technology, Climate change, Energy indicators
Nordic Energy Technology Perspectives
Pathways to a Carbon Neutral Energy Future
2013 Free Scenarios, Technology, Climate change
Technology Roadmap: Solar Heating and Cooling 2012 Free Solar
Medium-Term Renewable Energy Market Report 2012
Market Trends and Projections to 2017
2012 Free Renewables
IEA Journal: Issue 2 Renewable Energy: Coming of Age
Renewable Energy: Coming of Age
2012 Free IEA Journal
The Impact of Wind Power on European Natural Gas Markets 2012 Report Wind, Natural gas
Deploying Renewables 2011
Best and Future Policy Practice
2011 Study (book) Renewables
Solar Energy Perspectives 2011 Study (book) Solar
Technology Roadmap: China Wind Energy Development 2050 - Chinese version 2011 Translation: Wind, China
Technology Roadmap: China Wind Energy Development Roadmap 2050 2011 Free Wind, China
Technology Roadmap: Geothermal Heat and Power - Foldout 2011 Free Geothermal
Co-Generation and Renewables: Solutions for a Low-Carbon Energy Future 2011 Free Heat
Technology Roadmap: Biofuels for Transport - Foldout 2011 Free Biofuels, Transport
Harnessing Variable Renewables
A Guide to the Balancing Challenge
2011 Study (book) Renewables, Electricity
Technology Roadmap: Biofuels for Transport 2011 Free Biofuels, Transport
Integration of Renewables - Status and Challenges in China 2011 Free Renewables, China
Interactions of Policies for Renewable Energy and Climate 2011 Free Renewables, Climate change
Renewable Energy Essentials: Geothermal 2010 Free Geothermal
Transforming Global Markets for Clean Energy Products
Energy Efficient Equipment, Vehicles and Solar Photovoltaics
2010 Free Solar, Energy efficiency
Deploying Renewables in Southeast Asian Countries: Trends and Potentials 2010 Free Renewables, Electricity, Transport, Heat, Non-member countries
Technology Roadmap: Concentrating Solar Power 2010 Free Solar
Prospects for Large-Scale Energy Storage in Decarbonised Power Grids 2009 Free Wind
Cities, Towns and Renewable Energy: Yes in my front yard 2009 Study (book) Renewables, Cities
Renewable Energy Essentials: Solar Heating and Cooling 2009 Free Solar
Sustainable Production of Second-Generation Biofuels - Executive Summary 2009 Free Biofuels
Renewable Energy Essentials: Concentrating Solar Thermal Power 2009 Free Solar
Renewable Energy Essentials: Wind 2008 Free Wind
From 1st- to 2nd-Generation Biofuel Technologies - Extended Executive Summary 2008 Free Biofuels
Deploying Renewables: Principles for Effective Policies - Executive Summary - Russian version 2008 Translation: Renewables
Deploying Renewables: Principles for Effective Policies 2008 Country Review (Book) Renewables
Empowering Variable Renewables - Options for Flexible Electricity Systems 2008 Free Renewables
Fact Sheet: Renewables for Heating and Cooling 2007 Free Renewables, Heat
Renewables for Heating and Cooling 2007 Study (book) Geothermal, Heat
International Standards to Develop and Promote Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Sources 2007 Country Review (Book) Energy efficiency, Renewables
Contribution of Renewables to Energy Security 2007 Free Energy security, Renewables
Biomass for Power Generation and CHP 2007 Free Biofuels, Heat
Renewables in Global Energy Supply
An IEA Fact Sheet
2007 Free Renewables
Renewable Energy - RD&D Priorities
Insights from IEA Technology Programmes
2006 Study (book) Renewables
Hydrogen Production and Storage
R&D Priorities and Gaps
2006 Free Renewables
Renewables in Russia 2003 Free Renewables