New renewable energy capacity grows by 45% in 2020: IEA report

The International Energy Agency’s (IEA) latest report on the renewable energy market has found that the rate of new renewable electricity capacity added in 2020 rose by 45%, compared to 2019.

The 260GW of new renewable power capacity achieved last year resembles the fastest year-on-year rise since 1999, according to the IEA’s ‘Renewable Energy Market Update: Outlook for 2021 and 2022’.

In addition, the IEA said it expects expansion rates to reach a much faster pace than in the years prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, with growth in Europe and the US to be even brisker than previously forecast.

About 270GW of renewable capacity is on course to be added in 2021 and almost 280GW in 2022, despite a slowdown in new additions in China after an exceptional level of additions last year.

“Any slowdown in China in the coming years will be compensated for by strong growth in Europe, the US, India and Latin America where government support and falling prices for solar PV and wind continue to drive installations,” said IEA.

Global wind power capacity additions almost doubled last year to 114GW, while solar installations will continue to break new records, with annual additions forecast to reach over 160GW by 2022.

IEA executive director Fatih Birol said: “Wind and solar power are giving us more reasons to be optimistic about our climate goals as they break record after record. Last year the increase in renewable capacity accounted for 90% of the entire global power sector’s expansion.”