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In 2019, world total primary energy supply (TES) was 606.5 EJ, of which 13.8% was produced from renewable energy sources, which includes hydro, biofuels, renewable municipal waste, solar PV, solar thermal, wind, geothermal and tidal. The share of renewables was a record high, up from 13.5% in 2018.

Due to its widespread use in developing countries for heating and cooking, solid biofuels/‌charcoal is by far the largest renewable energy source (58.1%), followed by hydro (18.2%). Wind (6.2%), liquid biofuels (5.1%), and geothermal (5.0%) follow and, with shares lower than 3%, biogases, renewable municipal waste, solar PV, solar thermal and tidal. 

Fuel shares in world Total Energy Supply, 2019

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Since 1990, global renewable energy sources have grown at an average annual rate of 2.1%, which is slightly higher than the 1.8% growth rate of world TES.

Growth has been especially high for solar PV and wind power, which grew at average annual rates of 36.0% and 22.6%, respectively. Biogases had the third highest growth rate at 11.3%, followed by solar thermal (10.5%) and liquid biofuels (9.6%). Hydro, which is one of the largest sources, had one of the lowest growth rates, just 2.4%. On the other hand, solid biofuel, the world’s most commonly used renewable energy source, grew just 1.1% a year.

Average annual growth rates of world renewables supply, 1990-2019

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Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the total energy supply of OECD1 countries decreased by 6.4% in 2020 from 2019. All non-renewable sources, especially coal and oil, showed reduced supply while total renewable energy grew 1.9%, led by solar PV (21.3%) and wind power (12.3%). The growth for renewables was not uniform across OECD regions, falling 0.5% in OECD Americas, and rising 3.4% in OECD Europe and 6.1% in OECD Asia/Oceania.

Average annual growth rates of renewables supply in OECD, 2000-2020

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In OECD countries, renewables rose faster in the past two decades, gaining 2.9% a year on average in 2000-2010 and 3.2% in 2010-2020, up from 1.6% from 1990 to 2000. By contrast, the average annual growth rates in modern renewables, such as solar, wind, liquid biofuels, biogases, renewable municipal wastes and tidal, appear to be slowing down in the most recent period. From 2010 to 2020 the average annual growth rate was 8.4%, while from 2000 to 2010 it was 15.2%. The slower growth rate in the most recent period was influenced by reduced growth in liquid biofuels, biogases and renewable municipal wastes.

OECD renewable primary energy supply by product, 2000-2020

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In 2020, the share of renewables in total OECD primary energy supply reached a new high of 11.9%, one percentage point higher than in 2019. The share of renewables grew in every OECD region in 2020, reaching 17.7% in OECD Europe, 10% in OECD Americas and 6.3% in OECD Asia/Oceania. However, the principal cause of this growth was not the addition of renewables to the energy mix, but rather the drop in total energy supply due to the pandemic.

Fuel shares in OECD total energy supply, 2020

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Notes and references
  1. The Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD) includes Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Korea, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovak Republic, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, United Kingdom and United States. Costa Rica joined the OECD in May 2021. However, data for Costa Rica are not included in the OECD aggregates for this edition.