“Costs are falling, clean technology markets are growing and the benefits of the energy transition have never been seen so clearly before”
Global increases in renewable energy capacity in 2020 exceeded estimates and broke previous records, despite the economic slowdown due to the pandemic, according to the annual report of the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA).
The document published on Monday indicates that global renewable energy capacity increased last year by more than 260 gigawatts (GW), about 50% above the growth registered in 2019.
In its report, IRENA noted that more than 80% of the new electricity capacity added in 2020 was renewable, with solar and wind power representing 91% of the sources.
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On the other hand, Total fossil fuel growth fell to 60 GW in 2020 from 64 GW the previous year, highlighting the continuing downward trend in the expansion of fossil fuels.
“These figures tell an extraordinary story of resilience and hope (…) renewable energy emerged as a source of undeniable optimism for a better, more equitable, resilient, clean and just future,” said the CEO of IRENA, Francesco La Camera.
He also considered that “despite the difficulties of this period, as we predicted, the year 2020 marks the beginning of the decade of renewables.”
Last year, the share of renewables from new generation capacity increased significantly for the second year in a row, the report added.
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This increase is due in part to the dismantling of power generation from fossil fuels in Europe, North America and also for the first time in Eurasia (Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, the Russian Federation and Turkey).
“Costs are falling, clean technology markets are growing and the benefits of the energy transition have never been seen so clearly before”, noted the CEO of IRENA, stating, however, that “much remains to be done.”
“It is necessary to reorient in support of this transition, significant investments planned in the field of energy, if we want to meet the 2050 objectives,” he said.
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The report recalled that at the end of 2020, the global renewable generation capacity was 2,799 GW, with hydroelectric energy retaining the largest share (1,211 GW), although solar and wind were rapidly gaining ground.
According to IRENA, China and the US were the two most prominent growth markets in 2020: Beijing added 136 GW of wind and solar energy, while Washington installed 29 GW of renewables, almost 80% more than in 2019. (I)