Africa-Press – Eritrea. Global renewable power capacity is expected to grow by a third this year to 440 gigawatts, recording the largest absolute increase ever led by solar capacity additions, according to the International Energy Agency’s new report published Thursday.
Growing policy momentum, higher fossil fuel prices, and energy security concerns are driving strong deployment of solar and wind power, according to the IEA’s Renewable Energy Market Update.
Global renewable capacity additions this year are forecast to jump by 107 gigawatts to 440 gigawatts.
The growth is expected to continue in 2024, with the world’s total renewable electricity capacity rising to 4,500 gigawatts, equal to the total power output of China and the US combined.
“Solar and wind are leading the rapid expansion of the new global energy economy. This year, the world is set to add a record-breaking amount of renewables to electricity systems—more than the total power capacity of Germany and Spain combined,” said IEA Executive Director Fatih Birol.
“The global energy crisis has shown renewables are critical for making energy supplies not just cleaner but also more secure and affordable and governments are responding with efforts to deploy them faster,” he said.
To accommodate this growth in renewables, Birol advised that policies need to adapt to changing market conditions, with upgrades and expansion plans to power grids to ensure maximum advantage of solar and wind’s huge potential.
Solar will account for 65% of the total capacity increase this year as higher electricity prices stimulate faster growth of rooftop solar.
Wind power capacity is expected to rebound sharply in 2023, increasing by about 70% year-on-year after a difficult couple of years of sluggish growth.
The report said “the faster growth is mainly due to the completion of projects that had been delayed by COVID-19 restrictions in China and by supply chain issues in Europe and the United States.”
The forecast for renewable capacity additions in Europe had been revised upwards by 40% from before Russia’s war in Ukraine. Newly installed solar and wind capacity is estimated to have saved electricity consumers in the European Union €100 billion between 2021 and 2023, displacing more expensive fossil fuel generation.
A number of countries in Europe, including Spain, Germany and Ireland are forecast to see wind and solar power’s combined share of their overall annual electricity generation rise above 40% by 2024.
However, further growth in global wind capacity in 2024 will depend on whether governments can provide greater policy support to address challenges in terms of permitting and auction design, while solar is expected to continue its increase in 2024.
“New policy measures are also helping drive significant increases in the United States and India over the next two years. China, meanwhile, is consolidating its leading position and is set to account for almost 55% of global additions of renewable power capacity in both 2023 and 2024,” the IEA said.