Renewable sources of electricity such as wind and solar have grown at their fastest pace in two decades in 2020, and are expected to expand in the coming years, according to a new report from the International Energy Agency. at a much faster rate than before the pandemic. Growth in Europe and the United States will be even more sustained than expected, offsetting the transitional slowdown in China after exceptional growth in 2020.
According to Latest IEA Market Update, the amount of renewable electricity capacity added in 2020 increased 45% in 2020 to 280 gigawatts (GW), the largest year-over-year increase since 1999. This additional power equals capacity total installed base of ASEAN, a grouping of 10 dynamic Southeast Asian economies.
The increase in 2020 is expected to become the “new normal”, with around 270 GW of renewable capacity being added in 2021 and nearly 280 GW in 2022, despite a slowdown in China after an exceptional level of additions per year. latest. This forecast was revised up by more than 25% from previous IEA estimates in November, as governments around the world auctioned record levels of renewable capacity and companies signed deals. power purchase record high, even as the pandemic spread demand macroeconomic uncertainties.
Shifting from electricity generation to renewable sources is a key pillar of global efforts to achieve carbon neutrality, but CO2 emissions are expected to increase this year due to a parallel increase in coal use, highlighting major policy changes and clean energy investments needed to meet climate goals.
“Wind and solar power give us more reason to be optimistic about our climate goals as they break record after record. Last year, the increase in renewable capacity accounted for 90% of the expansion of the entire global electricity sector, ”said Fatih Birol, executive director of the IEA. “Governments must build on this promising momentum with policies that encourage greater investments in solar and wind power, in the additional grid infrastructure they will need, and in other key renewable technologies such as hydroelectricity, bioenergy and geothermal energy. A massive expansion of clean electricity is essential to give the world a chance to meet its net zero goals. ”
Global wind capacity additions nearly doubled last year to 114 GW. This growth will slow down a bit in 2021 and 2022, but the increases will still be 50% larger than the average expansion during the 2017-19 period. Solar PV installations will continue to break new records, with annual additions expected to reach over 160 GW by 2022. This would be nearly 50% higher than the level reached in 2019 before the pandemic, affirming the position of the solar energy as the ‘new king’ of global electricity markets.
China has been at the center of global demand and supply for renewable energy, accounting for around 40% of global renewable capacity growth for several years. In 2020, China’s share rose to 50% for the first time due to a rush to complete projects before government subsidies were phased out. In 2021-2022, renewable energy growth in China is expected to stabilize at levels below the peak of 2020, but still 50% higher than it was in the period 2017-19. Any slowdown in China in the coming years will be offset by strong growth in Europe, the United States, India and Latin America where government support and lower prices for solar PV and wind continue to drive the installations.
China is the largest manufacturer of solar panels and wind turbines, as well as the largest supplier of raw materials such as silicon, glass, steel, copper, and rare earths needed for their construction. Supply chain constraints, especially due to a fire at a Chinese silicon plant last year, recently pushed up prices for PV modules, highlighting the potential vulnerabilities longer term.
In the United States, the growth in renewable capacity this year and next is mainly driven by the extension of federal tax credits. The forecast does not take into account the US administration’s new emission reduction targets or its infrastructure bill. If enacted, the bill would result in a much stronger acceleration in the deployment of renewable energies after 2022.
India’s capacity additions fell nearly 50% last year compared to 2019. However, growth is expected to rebound and renewable energy expansion is expected to set new records by 2022, thanks to the commissioning of delayed projects. However, the current surge in Covid-19 cases in India has created short-term uncertainty for this year.
The production of biofuels for transport decreased by 8% globally in 2020 as the pandemic limited travel. Production is expected to pick up this year to reach 2019 volumes and increase a further 7% in 2022 as biodiesel and hydrotreated vegetable oil (HVO) production increases globally and ethanol expands in India. .
However, the lingering effects of the Covid-19 crisis on demand, as well as the price competition for sugarcane from sweetener manufacturers in Brazil, continue to keep ethanol production in the United States. United and Brazil below 2019 levels. At the same time, HVO’s global production capacity is expected to nearly double over the next two years, significantly increasing the capacity to produce biofuels from waste feedstocks and residues.