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Past Issue • Jul-Sep 2014

Global Drivers of the Uneven Expansion of Renewable Energy

Power generated through renewable energy sources has expanded at a rapid rate over the last decade and continues to grow globally. What have been the reasons behind this spurt in activity? Professors Ashwini Chhatre and Brian Dill provide a historical overview and describe the dynamic set of global drivers that propel the expansion of renewable energy within the global discourse on sustainability. Introduction Electricity from renewable sources has become a dominant feature of contemporary debates on sustainability. Over the past decade, wind, solar, hydro, and geothermal power have experienced sustained growth, amidst greater recognition of their multiple benefits amongst international organizations, national leaders, and common citizens. Global installed capacity for power generation from renewable sources (excluding nuclear energy) at the end of 2010, for example, was around 1200 GigaWatts (GW), up from 700GW just ten years ago (Figure 1). The rate of growth in generating capacity from renewables is now nearly twice that from non-renewable sources (Figure 2). Although renewable power has not expanded evenly across the globe, the overall rate of growth and direction of change is clear (REN21).


  • Ashwini-Chhatre

    Ashwini Chhatre

    Visiting Professor and Senior Research Fellow of the Bharti Institute of Public Policy, Indian School of Business (ISB).
  • Brian-Dill

    Brian Dill

    Brian Dill is Assistant Professor of Sociology at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. His book, Fixing the African State: Recognition, Politics, and Community-Based Development in Tanzania, was published by Palgrave-Macmillan in March 2013.
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