Renewables 2018

Market analysis and forecast from 2018 to 2023

Renewables 2018 is the IEA market analysis and forecast from 2018 to 2023 on renewable energy and technologies. It provides global trends and developments for renewable energy in the electricity, heat and transport sectors.


In this section


Summary


Of the three sectors, transport has the lowest penetration of renewables. While renewable energy in transport is expected to grow by 19% between 2018 and 2023, the overall renewable share remains small. In transport demand, renewables grow from 3.4% in 2017 to just 3.8% in 2023. Even so, renewables account for 12% of transport fuel demand growth.

Biofuel production continues to increase, rising 15% to 165 billion litres by the end of the forecast. In transport sector energy demand, biofuels still hold an almost 90% share of total renewables in 2023, even though electric mobility expands rapidly. Fuel ethanol makes up two-thirds of biofuel production growth, and biodiesel and hydrotreated vegetable oil (HVO) provide the remainder.

Renewable electricity in transport is expected to increase by two-thirds. Electric cars, two- and three- wheelers, and buses lead this growth; their electricity consumption almost triples over the forecast period. However, rail still accounts for most of renewable consumption in 2023. Overall, by the end of the forecast period, renewables provide almost one-third of the global demand for electrified transport.

Renewable energy in transport by fuel (left) and renewable consumption by transport mode in 2023 (right)
	Blank	Biofuels	Renewable electricity	% renewables (right-axis)
2017	0	86.23274306	7.64316423	3.4
2018-23	93.87590729	13.20281734	4.938933466	null
2023	0	99.4355604	12.5820977	3.8
{
	"chart":{
		"type":"column"
	},
	"plotOptions":{
		"column":{
			"borderWidth":0,
			"stacking":"normal"
		},
		"line":{
			"marker":{
				"symbol":"circle"
			}
		}
	},
	"title":{
		"text":null
	},
	"yAxis":[{
		"title":{
			"text":"Mtoe"
		},
		"reversedStacks":false
	},{
		"title":{
			"text":null
		},
		"labels":{
			"format":"{value}%"
		},
		"opposite":true
	}],
	"tooltip":{
		"valueDecimals":0,
		"valueSuffix":" Mtoe"
	},
	"xAxis":{
		"type":"category"
	},
	"series":[{
		"showInLegend":false,
		"enableMouseTracking":false,
		"color":"rgba(0,0,0,0)"
	}, {
"colorIndex":0
	}, {
"colorIndex":2
	}, {
		"yAxis":1,
		"type":"line",
		"colorIndex":7,
		"className":"noLine",
		"tooltip":{
			"valueDecimals":1,
			"valueSuffix":"%"
		}
	}]
}
	Consumption
Road biofuels	97.54946102
Aviation  biofuels	2
Maritime biofuels	0.4
Rail electricity	7.39
Road electricity 	4.08
Other electricity	1.355975924
{
	"chart":{
		"type":"pie"
	},
	"tooltip":{
		"valueDecimals":1,
		"valueSuffix":" Mtoe"
	}
}
Notes: Other electricity = consumption in pipeline transport and unspecified uses. Electric vehicles have two to three times better fuel economy than internal combustion engine vehicles, which contributes to lower renewable energy consumption compared with biofuels.

In 2017, conventional biofuel production increased 4% year-on-year to reach 143 billion litres, with an energy value of 83 Mtoe. By 2023, world biofuel production is estimated to grow another 15% to 165 billion litres, equivalent to 97 Mtoe – an upward revision from last year’s forecast owing to robust growth prospects in Asia and Latin America.

Asian countries account for the most growth in biofuel output over the forecast period: China, India and ASEAN countries combined represent half of the global expansion in biofuel production. Latin America is responsible for 45% of production growth, which comes principally from Brazil, which has the highest growth in biofuel output of  any individual country. The prime driver of this growth is the new RenovaBio policy framework that is set to be introduced in the first half of the forecast period.

Under favourable market and policy conditions, global conventional biofuel output in the accelerated case reaches 206 billion litres in 2023, which is 25% more than in the main case. Ethanol production could grow by more than 20%, with Brazil, China and the United States making the greatest contributions. Biodiesel and HVO output could climb more than 30%, mainly in Brazil, India and ASEAN countries.

	United States	European Union	Brazil	Rest of world	Axis
2009	43.30013489	12.93007721	26.00970832	9.95819264	
2010	51.64013256	14.78360139	28.52585544	11.63543695	
2011	56.38629644	14.12707374	24.0726796	14.89269082	
2012	53.56809458	15.21307427	25.10808128	18.02227236	
2013	55.38338002	16.98960912	30.36557282	18.94524397	
2014	57.71804428	18.87088435	32.11590256	21.99373213	
2015	59.45392158	18.13973503	33.85659322	20.06537924	
2016	62.66837387	17.7191372	32.40522384	24.62540044	
2017	65.84315759	20.00487149	32.01673134	25.38389449	
2018	66.58395644	18.57872323	36.50848566	27.09131445	
2019	66.78637121	20.18485616	37.40872273	30.06768972	
2020	66.00037511	21.56190107	38.66961763	33.83172338	
2021	65.64454899	19.33515935	38.9330874	34.82484737	
2022	65.51249666	18.25718349	41.3326255	36.58094973	
2023	65.69927903	17.95976709	42.61016013	38.63212496	
{
	"chart":{
		"type":"area","height":"35%"
	},
	"plotOptions":{
		"area":{
			"stacking":"normal",
			"marker":{
				"enabled":false
			}
		}
	},
	"title":{
		"text":"Global conventional biofuel production, 2011-23"
	},
	"tooltip":{
		"valueDecimals":1,
		"valueSuffix":" billion litres"
	},
	"yAxis":[{
		"title":{
			"text":"billion litres"
		},
		"min":0,
		"max":180,
		"reversedStacks":false
	}, {
		"title":{
			"text":"mb/d"
		},
		"opposite":true,
		"min":0,
		"max":3
	}],
	"series":[{
		"colorIndex":2
	},{
		"colorIndex":3
	},{
		"colorIndex":0
	},{
		"colorIndex":1
	},{
		"showInLegend":false,
		"yAxis":1,
		"type":"line",
		"enableMouseTracking":false,
		"color":"rgba(0,0,0,0)"
	}]
		
}

Ethanol


Fuel ethanol accounts for two-thirds of the growth in conventional biofuels between 2018 and 2023. Ethanol production increased by 3% globally in 2017, when it reached 104 billion litres of output, with higher production primarily in the United States, the European Union and China. Ethanol production is projected to expand at an average annual growth rate of 2%, to reach 119 billion litres by 2023, an upward revision from last year’s forecast.

Growth is driven by Brazil, followed by China and expanding markets in India and Thailand. In 2023, China’s share of global production increases, but the United States and Brazil still dominate ethanol production, accounting for 80% of global output.

Forecast change in ethanol production between 2017 and 2023 (left) and share of global ethanol output by country (right)

In the accelerated case, annual ethanol production rises by 26 billion litres to reach 145 billion litres in 2023, which is 22% higher than in the main case. The principal contributors to additional ethanol growth in the accelerated case are the United States, Brazil, China, India and Argentina.

Biodiesel


Combined biodiesel and hydrotreated vegetable oil (HVO) production increased 7% from 2016, with a record output of almost 39 billion litres in 2017. Global production is expected to grow at an average growth rate of 3% until 2023, reaching 46 billion litres, with market expansion driven by higher mandated demand in the United States, Brazil and some ASEAN countries.

HVO, which is also known as renewable diesel, is increasingly prominent in our biofuel forecast. In 2017, an output of 5.5 billion litres of HVO accounted for 14% of global combined HVO and biodiesel production. HVO output is anticipated to grow through 2023 with the expansion of existing facilities and new plants coming online in Europe and the United States.

Forecast change in biodiesel production between 2017 and 2023 (left) and share of global biodiesel output by country (right)

Biodiesel and HVO output increases by a further 15.5 billion litres to reach 61 billion litres by 2023 in the accelerated case, which is 34% higher than in the main case. The main contributors to this accelerated biodiesel and HVO production are Argentina, India, Brazil, and ASEAN countries.

Advanced biofuels


Higher production of advanced biofuels is important for long-term decarbonisation of the transport sector because they generally offer more significant reductions in greenhouse gas emissions relative to fossil fuels than do conventional biofuels. In addition, because they are produced from non-food feedstocks, they do not compete with food crops for prime agricultural land. Policy interest in advanced biofuels remains strong. The Biofuture Platform, a 20 member country collaboration initiated by Brazil, has advocated an increase in low-carbon biofuel consumption.

Our main case forecast expects annual production of novel advanced biofuels to reach 1.4 billion litres (0.9 Mtoe) in 2023, a more than threefold increase from estimated 2017 production. Still, this represents a downward revision from last year’s forecast, reflecting the small number of announced projects that are currently moving into construction. Over three-quarters of the announced advanced biofuel plants and those under construction that are using less mature technologies are located in Europe, India and the United States, where policy frameworks to support deployment are in place.

A significant contribution from advanced biofuels in the transport sector is not anticipated by 2023. Cellulosic ethanol accounts for 60% of production within the novel advanced biofuels (e.g. cellulosic ethanol and thermochemically‑produced diesel) main case forecast, with the remainder from advanced biofuels for the diesel pool and aviation biofuels.

The accelerated case for novel advanced biofuels forecasts nearly 2.3 billion litres of production by 2023, almost 65% above the main case. The share of cellulosic ethanol increases to two-thirds of production in the accelerated case, with one-third from advanced biofuels for use within the diesel pool and aviation biofuels.

Novel advanced biofuel production (left), global advanced biofuel project development by country (right)
	Operational small-scale	Operational commercial	Planned	Under construction 	Accelerated case
2017	0.087752125	0.3209025	0	0	0.41
2018	0.099458972	0.4239475	0.001594	0.01	0.57
2019	0.103861972	0.5922625	0.013006688	0.044875	0.83
2020	0.106087824	0.7083575	0.046327725	0.1175775	1.15
2021	0.108916324	0.77352	0.109668713	0.1832225	1.53
2022	0.112716324	0.79597	0.1793026	0.2482275	1.99
2023	0.114316324	0.80167	0.224898688	0.2707875	2.31
{
	"chart":{
		"type":"area","height":"45%"
	},
	"plotOptions":{
		"area":{
			"stacking":"normal",
			"marker":{
				"enabled":false
			}
		},
		"line":{
			"marker":{
				"enabled":false
			},
			"dashStyle":"longDash"
		}
	},
	"xAxis":{
		"tickPositions":[2017,2020,2023]
	},
	"tooltip":{
		"valueDecimals":1,
		"valueSuffix":" billion litres"
	},
	"yAxis":{
		"title":{
			"text":"billion litres"
		}
	},
	"series":[{
	},{
	},{
	},{
	},{
		"type":"line"
	}]
}
	Share
Europe	32
United States	27
India	18
Canada	5
Rest of world	18
{
	"chart":{
		"type":"pie","height":"45%"
	},
	"plotOptions":{
		"pie":{
			"innerSize":"60%",
			"size":"80%",
			"dataLabels":{
				"enabled":true,
				"format":"{point.name}: {y}%",
				"distance":10
			}
		}
	},
	"tooltip":{
		"valueSuffix":"%"
	}
}
Go to top