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Expand chart
Data: IEA; Chart: Michelle McGhee/Axios

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.

Go deeper

California energy commission mandates solar panels for new buildings

A person carrying a solar panel into a home in a home in Alamo, California, in May 2017. Photo: Scott Strazzante/San Francisco Chronicle via Getty Images

The California Energy Commission voted Wednesday to require solar panels and battery energy storage systems in new commercial buildings and certain multifamily residences beginning in 2023, according to the New York Times.

Why it matters: It's an aggressive step in California's transition away from fossil fuels and broader drive to cut carbon emissions, although the provision must first be approved by the state's Building Standards Commission.

Clinton-linked lawyer indicted in investigation of FBI's Russia probe

Photo: Eric Baradat/AFP via Getty Images

A grand jury has returned an indictment against Michael Sussmann, a lawyer whose firm represented the 2016 Clinton campaign, for lying to the FBI about not representing "any client" when he presented them with allegations about a secret Trump Organization back-channel to a Russian bank.

Why it matters: It's the second criminal charge stemming from special counsel John Durham's review of possible misconduct by the intelligence community and prosecutors who investigated the 2016 Trump campaign's ties to Russia.

Federal judge blocks Biden administration's use of Title 42 policy

Photo: Stefani Reynolds/Bloomberg via Getty Images

A federal judge on Thursday blocked the Biden administration from enforcing a public health order that fast-tracked deportations of migrant families at the southern border.

Why it matters: President Biden has faced significant backlash for retaining the Trump-era policy, which was implemented as a COVID containment measure. The expulsions deny adult migrants and families the chance for asylum.

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