Mauritius ranks second globally among countries for share of 2012 GDP invested in new renewable power, according to the 2014 edition of the Renewables Global Status Report for the 21st Century (REN21). First was Uruguay, and, after Mauritius, Costa Rica, South Africa and Nicaragua rounded up the top 5.

Recently released by the Renewable Energy Policy Network, the 2014 edition noted that Mauritius produced 15% of primary energy from renewables in 2011-12 and is targeting 35% by 2025.

Globally, the report noted a fall in new investment in renewable power and fuels, stating that such investments (excluding hydropower projects larger than 50 MW) were an estimated USD 214.4 billion in 2013, down 14% relative to 2012.

World-wide, China was ranked first for total investments in renewable power and fuels, followed by US, Japan, UK and Germany.

The second consecutive year of decline in investment was due in part to uncertainty over incentive policies in Europe and the United States, and to retroactive reductions in support in some countries. The year 2013 also saw an end to eight consecutive years of rising renewable energy investment in developing countries.

Yet the global decline also resulted from sharp reductions in technology costs. This was particularly true for solar PV, which saw record levels of new installations in 2013, outstripping wind energy, despite a 22% decline in dollars invested.

“Renewables have entered the mainstream. This is welcome news as we begin the Decade of Sustainable Energy for All (SE4ALL), mobilising towards universal access to modern energy services, improved rates of energy efficiency, and expanded use of renewable energy sources by 2030,” the report outlined.

To reinforce its claim that renewables have indeed entered the mainstream, the report noted that sustainable energy currently meets 20% or more of final energy demand for heat in Austria, Denmark, Israel, New Zealand, Norway, and Thailand, and significant shares also in India (11%), Indonesia (7%), and South Africa (6%).

South Africa led the African continent in renewable investments, although it was down from USD 5.7 the previous year, recording investment of USD 4.9 billion. The second largest investor in Africa was Kenya (USD 249 million), followed by Mauritius and Burkina Faso.

Also, in response to rising demand, in Latin America, Africa, Middle East and elsewhere, an increased number of wind and solar power projects are being built without public funding.

Several new processing plants have started with feedstocks other than corn and sugar cane while in Sub-Saharan Africa, cassava, traditionally grown for beer and flour, is growing as a biofuel feedstock.

For instance, Sunbird BioenergyAfrica collaborated with China New Energy to set up a USD 24 million cassava-based ethanol plant in Nigeria.

During 2013, Africa completed two projects which became operational in late 2013: Ghana’s second largest hydropower station, the 400 MW Bui plant, and Gabon’s 160 MW Grand Poubara plant.

“There is growing support for future development in Africa, and many impending new hydropower sites exist on the continent,” the report stated.

In conclusion, the report noted, “We need to move faster and more deliberately if we are to double the share of renewables in the global energy mix and ensure access to clean and sustainable energy for all people by 2030.”

In June 2004, delegates from 154 countries gathered in Bonn, Germany, for the world’s first government-hosted international conference on renewable energy, and, inspired by the event, REN21’s Renewables Global Status Report (GSR) was first released in 2005.

Since then, it has grown to become a truly collaborative effort, drawing on an international network of over 500 authors, contributors, and reviewers.

Image (Davies Consulting): Recently released by the Renewable Energy Policy Network, the 2014 edition noted that South Africa led the African continent in renewable investments, followed by Kenya, Mauritius and Burkina Faso.

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