Renewable installations hit a record for the year: IEA

Wind turbines and solar panels in Kayseri, Turkey.

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According to the International Energy Agency, the world will add nearly 290 gigawatts of renewable electricity capacity this year, with the Paris-based organization projecting 2021 to “set a new all-time record for electricity generation.” new installation.”

Published Wednesday, the IEA’s Renewable Energy Market Report forecasts that the planet’s renewable electricity capacity will grow to more than 4,800 GW by 2026, an increase of more than 60 percent from 2020.

Capacity refers to the maximum amount of energy an installation can generate, not what they necessarily produce.

According to the IEA, China is seen as the main driver of renewable capacity growth in the coming years, with Europe, the US and India following suit.

Looking at the bigger picture, the IEA says renewables are expected to account for “nearly 95% of the increase in global electricity capacity through 2026.”

“We have revised our forecast from a year earlier, as policy support is stronger and the ambitious climate targets announced for COP26 are higher than historic commodity prices,” the report said. The current climate has increased the cost of building new wind and solar installations.”

Solar PV refers to solar photovoltaic, a way that directly converts sunlight into electricity.

The IEA’s chief executive, Fatih Birol, said the record renewable electricity additions in 2021 are “another sign that a new global energy economy is taking shape.”

“The high commodity and energy prices we are seeing today pose new challenges for the renewable industry, but rising fossil fuel prices also make renewables competitive,” says Birol. than”.

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While headline figures from Wednesday’s report look promising, a multitude of headwinds could affect the sector.

The IEA report acknowledges this, noting that renewables face “a range of policy uncertainties and implementation challenges.” These include everything from permitting and funding to grid integration and social acceptance.

“Currently rising commodity prices have weighed on investment costs, while increased raw material availability and electricity prices in some markets pose additional challenges for power producers,” the IEA said. wind and solar power in the short term,” said the IEA.

However, the impact of “on-demand fluctuating freight and transport prices is expected to be limited”, with high fossil fuel prices continuing to boost the competitiveness of both solar and wind.

When it comes to goals without the net, the picture is perhaps even tougher.

While capacity additions to renewables will of course “grow faster than ever over the next five years”, this will not be enough to meet the IEA’s scenario of net zero emissions in 2020. 2050.

Even the IEA’s “accelerated case”, in which governments tackle regulatory, policy and enforcement challenges, will not be enough.

“IEA Net Zero Scenario Annual Capacity Growth for 2021-2026 needs to be 80% faster than our Accelerator case, implying that governments need not only address the challenges of policy and enforcement, but also increase their ambitions,” the report said.

This serious tone echoes earlier statements by the IEA. In October, it announced that clean energy progress is still “too slow to bring global emissions into a steady decline to net zero.”

In a sign of how much work needs to be done, the IEA’s World Energy Outlook described a “rapid but uneven economic recovery from the Covid-19 recession”. last year” has put considerable strain on the energy system. This has caused “strong price increases in the natural gas, coal and electricity markets.”

“For all the progress made from renewables and electric mobility, 2021 will see a major rebound in coal and oil use,” the report continued. “In large part for this reason, it is also seeing the second-largest annual increase in CO2 emissions on record.” Renewable installations hit a record for the year: IEA


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