New data from the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) shows that renewable energy continues to outpace fossil fuels in terms of global power capacity additions.
IRENA’s annual Renewable Capacity Statistics 2020 publication shows that the renewable energy sector added 176 GW of generating capacity globally in 2019, marginally lower than the 179 GW added in 2018. However, new renewable power accounted for 72 per cent of all power expansion last year, and its growth outpaced fossil fuel growth by a factor of 2.6.
Solar and wind contributed 90 per cent of total renewable capacity added in 2019, while Asia dominated growth regionally, accounting for 54 per cent of additions.
“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,” said IRENA Director-General Francesco La Camera. “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.
“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,” continued Mr. La Camera. “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.”
Renewables accounted for at least 70 per cent of total capacity expansion in almost all regions in 2019, other than in Africa and the Middle East, where they represented 52 per cent and 26 per cent of net additions respectively. The additions took the renewable share of all global power capacity to 34.7 per cent, up from 33.3 per cent 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.