The total capacity growth for renewables worldwide is set to nearly double in the next five years, effectively overtaking coal as the largest source of electricity generation.
At the same time, the green energy movement is helping keep the possibility of limiting global warming to 1.5 °C, according to a recent report from the International Energy Association (IEA).
The current global energy crisis is promoting a significant uptake in renewable energy installations. Energy security concerns were amplified by the dependency on imported fossil fuels, which was brought to the forefront by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Countries are more motivated than ever to embrace solar and wind renewable energy solutions and help reduce their reliance on imported fossil fuels, whose prices have dramatically increased.
European governments and businesses are looking to replace Russian gas with alternatives swiftly. The combination of energy security concerns and ambitious climate goals has fueled a massive uptake for renewables in Europe over the next five years. The uptake is forecasted to be twice as high as in the previous five-year period. If EU policies, such as streamlining the permitting timelines for renewable projects, are implemented, there could be an even quicker deployment of solar and wind systems throughout Europe.
Over the next five years, global renewable power capacity is expected to grow by 2,400 gigawatts. To put this tremendous growth in perspective, it’s equal to China’s current power capacity, according to the IEA’s annual report on the sector. It was 30% higher than the growth forecast for the sector one year ago. The quick uptake by many governments in adding policy weight behind renewables has helped contribute to unparalleled growth.
Renewables could overtake coal and become the largest source of electricity worldwide, accounting for over 90% of the global electricity expansion by early 2025, the IEA report finds. The world is on track to add as much renewable power over the next five years as it did in the last 20 years!
IEA Executive Director Fatih Birol attributes this remarkable uptake to the energy crisis as a “historic turning point towards a cleaner and more secure energy system.”
Other than Europe, China, India, and the United States propelled the strong uptake in renewable power growth for the next five years. These countries are introducing regulatory and market reforms as well as implementing policies to help combat the energy crisis. In fact, according to China’s recently published five-year plan, the country is expected to account for nearly half the global renewable power capacity additions over the next five years.
Finally, the US Inflation Reduction Act is expected to promote substantial growth in the renewables industry by supporting the long-term expansion of renewables across the country. It’s a great time to be in the industry, and it’s safe to say big things are coming!