renewablesWind, solar and other renewable energies now produce nearly 22 percent of the world’s electricity, according to a new report from the International Energy Agency (IEA). 

An autonomous organization that works to ensure reliable, affordable and clean energy for its 29 member countries, the Paris-based IEA is focused on energy security and environmentally-aware economic development. On Thursday, it published its Medium-Term Renewable Energy Market Report 2014, providing market analysis and forecasts to 2020. It states that the global mix of renewable power generation has reached almost 22 percent, a slight increase from 2012 (21 percent) and a 4 percent increase from 2007.

In 2013, over $250 billion were invested in clean generating systems, but the IEA predicts that this amount is likely to decrease in the coming years. Politicians in various countries are concerned that the cost of renewable subsidies will grow untenable as the renewables come to market.

The executive director of the IEA, Maria van der Hoeven, told the Guardian that policymakers are being unreasonably skittish. “Renewables are a necessary part of energy security,” she said. “However, just when they are becoming a cost-competitive option in an increasing number of cases, policy and regulatory uncertainty is rising in some key markets.”

Moreover, “Many renewables no longer need high incentive levels. Rather, given their capital-intensive nature, renewables require a market context that assures a reasonable and predictable return for investors.”

At the current growth rate, renewables could produce as much as 26 percent of the world’s electricity by 2020. But that would still leave countries short of keeping greenhouse gas emissions from raising the global climate above 2 degrees Celsius.

Justin Wilkes, the deputy chief executive of the European Wind Energy Association, says governments need to step up their game: “Europe’s heads of state need to agree in October on a binding 30 percent renewables target if real progress is going to be made to improve Europe’s energy security, competitiveness and climate objectives.”

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