According to the report, it was yet another record year in renewable energy, despite rising costs for raw materials and the Covid-19 pandemic. International Energy Agency (IEA).
Around 290GW of renewable energy generation capacity has been installed in the world this year. This surpasses the previous record. Based on current trends, the renewable energy generating capacity will surpass that of nuclear energy and fossil fuels by 2026.
The growth has been driven by new climate and energy policies in many countries, with many governments setting higher goals to reduce greenhouse gas emissions prior to and at the Cop26 UN Climate Summit in Glasgow last month.
This growth rate is only half of what is needed to achieve net zero carbon emissions by midcentury.
Fatih Birol is the executive director of IEA. He stated that this year’s record-breaking renewable energy additions is yet another sign of a new global economy. The current high commodity and energy prices pose new challenges to the industry. However, rising fossil fuel prices make renewables even more competitive.
According to the IEA report published Wednesday, renewables will account roughly 95% of the global power-generation capacity increase between now and 2026. About half of that increase will be provided by solar power.
The Covid pandemic has ended, and raw material prices have risen in tandem with rising energy prices around the globe. These price rises have canceled some of the recent cost drops in the renewable sector. If they continue next years, the cost for wind power will rise to levels last seen in 2015. Two to three years of price falls in solar power will also be reversed.
Heymi Bahar was the lead author of the report. He said that although commodity prices are not the main obstacle to growth, they were still a factor. He pointed out that solar and wind would still be cheaper than most fossil fuels in most places. Permitting was the biggest obstacle to wind energy projects in the world. Policy measures were required to increase solar power use for consumers and industry.
He stated that net zero requires a gear change. We have seen a significant gear change in recent years, but we need to shift up a gear now. It’s possible, we have all the tools. Not just in terms of targets, but also in terms of policy measures and plans, governments need to be more ambitious.
China has installed the largest new renewable energy capacity this past year. It is now expected that it will reach 1,200GW of solar and wind capacity by 2026, four years before its 2030 target. China is the world’s largest carbon emitter. However, the government at Cop26 was reluctant to commit to strengthening its emissions-cutting goals, as many observers had hoped.
China has set a 2030 peak in emissions, which many analysts consider too late if the world wants global temperature rises to 1.5C above preindustrial levels.
Birol stated that China’s rapid expansion in renewable energy suggests that the country could surpass 2030 emissions.
India, third-largest emitter in the world, saw strong growth in renewable energy capacity over the past year. However, many consider its Cop26 target of net zero by 2070 too weak. Birol said that India’s impressive growth in renewables is supporting the newly announced goal of 500GW renewable power capacity by 2030. It also highlights Indias greater potential to accelerate its transition to clean energy.