Off-grid renewable energy solutions have emerged as mainstream and support the expanding access to modern energy services in a timely and environmentally sustainable manner. Off-grid renewables are able to deliver a wide spectrum of electricity services for households, public services, commercial and industrial uses.

The International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) has set out to produce comprehensive, reliable data sets on renewable energy capacity and use worldwide. The Renewable Energy Statistics 2018 yearbook shows data sets on renewable power-generation capacity for 2008-2017, renewable power generation for 2008-2016 and renewable energy balances for about 120 countries and areas for 2015 and 2016.

Thorough, well informed planning is essential to develop electricity systems and prepare them for increased shares of renewables. Long-term electricity planning is highly relevant in centrally managed power systems or where power generation and transmission require co-ordination across multiple jurisdictions.

As the offshore wind power generation spreads to more countries, standardisation can help to overcome market barriers and spur further deployment. Initial experience in the sector has come mostly from mature energy markets, such as Denmark, Germany and the United Kingdom.

More and more non-energy companies are voluntarily – and actively – procuring or investing in self-generation of renewable energy. Driven by sharp cost reductions, combined with growing calls for sustainability among investors and consumers, renewables have become an attractive source of energy for corporate users around the world.

Technological innovation is crucial to enable progress in the transformation of the global energy system. However, policy makers need to refresh the priorities in such innovation to address new challenges, such as integrating high shares of renewable power and electrifying transport, industry and buildings.

Offshore wind projects create ample opportunities for local value creation. Income and jobs can be maximised by leveraging existing economic activities and building upon domestic supply chains. Education and training, however, must be attuned to emerging needs in the offshore wind industry.

The industry created more than 500 000 new jobs globally in 2017, with the total number of people employed in renewables (including large hydropower) surpassing 10 million for the first time. Renewable Energy and Jobs, presents the status of employment, both by technology and in selected countries, over the past year.

Renewable energy auctions have emerged as an important mechanism to drive the adoption of renewable sources for power generation. Like in other regions, auctions can help countries across sub-Saharan Africa achieve record-low prices for solar photovoltaic (PV) and wind power.

Spurred by innovation, increased competition, and policy support in a growing number of countries, renewable energy technologies have achieved massive technological advances and sharp cost reductions. Renewables have come to the forefront of the global energy transition, with nearly every country adopting a renewable energy target.