The renewable energy power capacity grew at its fastest pace in two decades last year, the International Energy Agency (IEA) said, raising its growth forecast for wind and solar power for the next two years.
According to the energy watchdog, despite supply chain disruptions and construction delays due to the impact of COVID-19, the new renewable energy capacity in 2020 rose by 45 percent to 280 gigawatts (GW) marking the largest year-on-year increase since 1999.
China accounted for 50 percent of renewable energy capacity growth last year and will account for 45 percent this year and 58 percent in 2022. Globally, around 270 GW of new capacity is forecasted to be added this year and nearly 280 GW in 2022, the IEA report said.
The new forecasts have been increased by more than 25 percent from the agency’s previous predictions in November as governments have auctioned record amounts of renewable energy and companies have signed a record number of power purchase agreements in aim to cut carbon emissions.
Governments auctioned 75 GW of offshore and onshore wind, solar photovoltaic and bioenergy capacity last year which is 20 percent higher than 2019, IEA noted.
“Wind and solar power are giving us more reasons to be optimistic about our climate goals as they break record after record. Last year the increase in renewable capacity accounted for 90 percent of the entire global power sector’s expansion,” said IEA executive director Fatih Birol.
The governments need to set policies to encourage more investment in solar and wind and the additional grid infrastructure they will require, as well as other renewable technologies such as bioenergy and geothermal.