What is the impact of renewables on energy security?

Energy security and diversification of the energy mix is a major policy driver for renewables. Growth of renewables generally contributes to energy diversification, in terms of the technology portfolio and also in terms of geographical sources. Use of renewables can also reduce fuel imports and insulate the economy to some extent from fossil fuel price rises and swings. This certainly increases energy security. However, concentrated growth of variable renewables can make it harder to balance power systems, which must be duly addressed.

What is renewable energy?

Energy derived from natural processes (e.g. sunlight and wind) that are replenished at a faster rate than they are consumed. Solar, wind, geothermal, hydro, and some forms of biomass are common sources of renewable energy.

How much of the world's energy comes from renewable sources?

In 2012, the world relied on renewable sources for around 13.2% of its total primary energy supply. In 2013 renewables accounted for almost 22% of global electricity generation, and the IEA Medium-Term Renewable Energy Report 2015 foresees that share reaching at least 26% increase in 2020.

What are variable renewables?

Variable renewables include wind, solar, wave and tidal energy, and are based on sources that fluctuate during the course of any given day or season. Variability is not new to power systems, which must constantly balance the supply and variable demand for electricity and face all kind of contingencies. However, large shares of variable renewables supply may increase pressure on power systems, which may need increased flexibility to respond to this balancing issue. More flexible generating capacities (e.g. gas and hydro power plants), interconnections, storage (e.g. with pumped-hydro plants),

Are renewables competitive?

The renewable energy sector is demonstrating its capacity to deliver cost reductions, provided that appropriate policy frameworks are in place and enacted. Deployment is expanding rapidly. Costs have been decreasing and a portfolio of renewable energy technologies has become cost-competitive in an increasingly broad range of circumstances, particularly established technologies such as hydro and geothermal but also, where resources are favourable, technologies such as onshore wind. However, economic barriers remain important in many cases. In general, costs need to be reduced further. Moreover