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Reproduced from IEA; Chart: Axios Visuals

The International Energy Agency has boosted its estimate of renewable power growth this year and now sees installations setting a fresh record.

Why it matters: Wind and solar are proving more resilient to COVID-19 than initially believed as projects and manufacturing "ramped up again quickly" after disruptions in the first half of the year, IEA said.

Driving the news: IEA's new analysis estimates that installed renewable generating capacity will grow by nearly 200 gigawatts this year, which is 18% higher than a previous estimate in May.

IEA also finds that renewables are slated to account for 90% of all new generating capacity additions this year.

What they're saying: "The resilience and positive prospects of the sector are clearly reflected by continued strong appetite from investors," said IEA executive director Fatih Birol.

Where it stands: A big part of this year's growth stems from developers in China and the U.S. rushing to complete projects before incentives lapse, IEA said.

They expect a fresh record next year, with capacity additions jumping in Europe and India, as well as continued recovery from pandemic delays.

Yes, but: IEA's main forecast sees a dip in 2022 thanks to a reduction in incentives in some regions, delayed auctions in Latin America and other forces.

It's a projected slowdown that comes as IEA is among the voices calling for accelerating energy transition to combat climate change.

Two other big findings from IEA's five-year outlook: One is that total installed wind and solar capacity (a reminder that it's not the same thing as actual generation) will surpass natural gas in 2023 and coal in 2024.

The big picture: When all renewables are taken together including hydropower, still the largest renewable generation source, "Renewables will overtake coal to become the largest source of electricity generation worldwide in 2025."

"By that time, they are expected to supply one-third of the world’s electricity," IEA notes. Carbon Brief has more.

Go deeper

Ben Geman, author of Generate
Jan 26, 2021 - Energy & Environment

New report pushes UN to rethink electricity goals in developing nations

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

It's time for the world's biggest multilateral development agencies to radically reframe their goals around expanding electricity access, a new proposal argues.

Why it matters: The nonprofit Energy for Growth Hub says the UN's current sustainable development goals (SDGs) around power access are too modest and focus too narrowly on residential use.

49 mins ago - World

U.S. will give Russians written response to NATO demands, Blinken says

Blinken and Lavrov shake hands in Geneva. Photo: Russian Foreign Ministry / Handout/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Secretary of State Antony Blinken confirmed after a meeting with his Russian counterpart on Friday that the U.S. will provide written answers to Russia's security demands next week.

Why it matters: Russia claims to be waiting for "concrete answers" to its demands that NATO rule out further expansion and roll back its presence in eastern Europe before deciding its next steps on Ukraine. But the U.S. and NATO have called those proposals "non-starters," and Friday's meeting offered no breakthroughs, so it's unclear how written answers might change the equation.

More surprises await scientists at Antarctica's "Doomsday Glacier"

Cliffs along the edge of the Thwaites Ice Shelf in West Antarctica. Photo: James Yungel/NASA

Researchers like David Holland, an atmospheric scientist at New York University, are in a race to understand the fate of a massive glacier in West Antarctica that has earned a disquieting nickname: "The Doomsday Glacier."

Why it matters: Studies show the Thwaites Glacier (its official name) could already be on an irreversible course to melt during the next several decades to centuries, freeing up enough inland ice to raise global sea levels by at least several feet.