Renewables account for almost three-quarters of new energy capacity

6th April 2020


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Oliver Thomas

Renewable energy accounted for almost three-quarters of all new power capacity expansion worldwide last year, data published by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) reveals.

The figures show that renewables accounted for 72% of all power expansion in 2019, and that Asia contributed 54% of new additions.

In total, the renewable energy sector added 176 GW of generating capacity globally, marginally lower than the 179 GW in 2018, with solar and wind responsible for 90% of the expansion.

The data also shows that renewable power growth outpaced that of fossil fuels by a factor of 2.6, continuing a trend that was first established in 2012.

“With renewable additions providing the majority of new capacity last year, it is clear that many countries and regions recognise the degree to which the energy transition can deliver positive outcomes,“ said IRENA director general Francesco La Camera.

“Renewable energy is a cost-effective source of new power that insulates power markets and consumers from volatility, supports economic stability and stimulates sustainable growth.“

The figures show that renewables accounted for at least 70% of total capacity expansion in almost all regions in 2019, other than in Africa and the Middle East, where they represented 52% and 26% of net additions respectively.

The additions took the renewable share of all global power capacity to 34.7%, up from 33.3% at the end of 2018.

Non-renewable capacity expansion globally followed long-term trends in 2019, with net growth in Asia, the Middle East and Africa, and net decommissioning in Europe and North America.

“While the trajectory is positive, more is required to put global energy on a path with sustainable development and climate mitigation – both of which offer significant economic benefits,“ La Camera continued.

“At this challenging time, we are reminded of the importance of building resilience into our economies. In what must be the decade of action, enabling policies are needed to increase investments and accelerate renewables adoption.“

Image credit: iStock

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