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Renewable Energy Growth Accelerating Faster Than Ever, Suggests IEA Report

This year’s record renewable electricity additions of 290 GW are yet another sign that a new global energy economy is emerging, said IEA Executive Director Fatih Birol

Renewable Energy

Renewable energy is set to account for nearly 95 percent of the increase in power capacity in the world through 2026, Despite rising costs for critical materials used to make solar panels and wind turbines, almost 290 GW of new renewable power projects will be commissioned in 2021, a 3% year-over-year growth compared to 2020, according to the International Energy Agency (IEA) ’s Renewables 2021 report, which analyzes the renewable energy sector based on current policies and market developments.

The Paris-based energy watchdog further said in its annual Renewables Market Report that the new renewable power capacity in 2021 will rise to a second consecutive all-time high, beating the previous record last year.

The report said China will remain the global leader in capacity additions, with 1,200 GW of total wind and solar capacity to be installed by 2026. This achievement is four years earlier than its current target of 2030.

India is set to come up top in terms of growth, doubling new installations compared with 2015-2020. The country could add 121 GW of renewable capacity over 2021-2026, an 86% increase in existing capacity, making it the third-largest growth market globally after China and the United States.

“This year’s record renewable electricity additions of 290 gigawatts are yet another sign that a new global energy economy is emerging. The high commodity and energy prices we are seeing today pose new challenges for the renewable industry, but elevated fossil fuel prices also make renewables even more competitive,” said IEA Executive Director Fatih Birol.

Renewable electricity capacity by 2026 will rise more than 60 percent from 2020 levels to over 4,800 GW – equivalent to the current total global power capacity of fossil fuels and nuclear combined, the IEA added.

“To get renewables on track with net-zero by 2050, governments not only need to address current policy and implementation challenges but also increase ambition for all renewable energy uses,” the IEA wrote.

The report forecasts that by 2026, global renewable electricity capacity will rise more than 60% from 2020 to over 4,800 GW. Renewables are set to account for almost 95% of the increase in global power capacity through 2026, with solar PV alone providing more than half. The amount of renewable capacity added throughout 2021 to 2026 is expected to be 50% higher than from 2015 to 2020.

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