Record-breaking growth in renewable energy

In a world often barraged by disheartening headlines, it’s with great pleasure that we share uplifting news from the renewable energy sector: The International Energy Agency’s (IEA) latest research forecasts a seismic shift in our energy landscape. The world is primed to witness a ‘record-breaking’ increase in renewable power capacity, projected to surge by an impressive 33% this year. This unprecedented growth is buoyed by the rising dominance of renewable technologies like wind and solar, which are expected to realise their most substantial annual capacity expansion yet.

European countries are leading this green transition, having saved a whopping €100 billion in the past two years alone. This significant saving has been achieved by replacing fossil fuel generation with fresh, clean power sources. The bolstering of renewable energy infrastructures not only serves to reduce carbon emissions but also presents an economically sound strategy.

A brighter future

The global push towards renewables has been driven by several factors, notably the escalating energy costs and the need to enhance energy security. The latter point has gained particular importance in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, prompting nations to seek more sustainable and independent energy solutions.

IEA’s executive director, Fatih Birol, made a statement underlining this swift energy transformation. “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,”  he said.

The growth trajectory, according to the IEA, is set to be dominated by solar and wind energy. China is expected to be a major player, accounting for almost 55% of the global renewable power capacity additions in 2023 and 2024.

Solar photovoltaic (PV) systems, in particular, are poised to make the most significant stride in capacity additions, contributing to 66% of the annual increase in power capacity. As the sector’s maturation continues, the IEA anticipates solar installation levels to rise even further in 2024.

Moreover, the manufacturing capacity for solar is forecasted to more than double to 1,000GW by 2024. This impressive growth will be driven by key players like China, the US, and India, further solidifying their positions in the global renewable energy market.

Outstripping oil production

Last week, the IEA reported a ground-breaking trend that underscores the rise of renewable energy. Investments in solar energy alone are predicted to outstrip those in oil production for the first time in history, with a staggering $1.7 trillion projected to be invested in clean energy solutions in 2023.

This enormous investment signifies an assured future for solar manufacturing, which is projected to sufficiently meet the IEA’s requirements for solar output to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050. By 2030, manufacturing levels for solar are expected to exceed the demand, providing a clear roadmap towards a sustainable, clean energy future.

Looking ahead, the IEA cautions that the growth trajectory of renewable energy in the coming year hinges on governmental action. It underscores the crucial role of improving legislative frameworks to address challenges surrounding permit issuance and design constraints. By effectively managing these roadblocks, governments can expedite the development of more efficient supply chains. The key to unlocking further growth, therefore, lies in the integration of sound policy decisions and robust infrastructure development. This delicate balance of regulatory improvement and operational efficiency will pave the way for an even more dynamic and resilient renewable energy sector.


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