Renewables grew at the fastest rate in two decades last year, IEA says
The International Energy Agency just issued a big upward revision to estimates of near-term global renewable power growth.
Driving the news: The agency's latest data shows that new capacity additions surged to almost 280 gigawatts last year despite the pandemic.
- That's 45% higher than 2019 and the largest year-over-year jump in two decades.
Why it matters: IEA said that scale of new capacity additions is the "new normal."
- They project about 270 GW this year and another 280 in 2022, with renewables accounting for 90% of power generating capacity additions globally.
- Those combined gigawatt levels are 25% higher than their prior projections in November, with IEA boosting forecasts for all major markets.
- Their 2021–2022 regional outlook sees growth slowing in China — the world's largest market — and slightly in the U.S. compared to 2020, but accelerating in Europe, India and Latin America.
The big picture: "Wind and solar power are giving us more reasons to be optimistic about our climate goals as they break record after record," IEA executive director Fatih Birol said.
Yes, but: The global power system is still dominated by fossil fuels and global emissions are far off track from the Paris Agreement goals.
- Governments must "build on this promising momentum" with policies that spur even higher investments in renewables and grid infrastructure, Birol said in a statement.