Renewable energy capacity worldwide has skyrocketed at a faster pace than ever recorded over the last two decades, according to the International Energy Agency (IEA).
Other recent findings from the body, which works with countries around the world to shape energy policies for a secure and sustainable future, include that the world’s renewable energy grew by 50% last year to 510 gigawatts (GW) by the end of 2023, the 22nd consecutive year that renewable capacity has smashed previous records.
The findings, from Renewables 2023 — the IEA’s primary analysis on the sector — forecast the deployment of renewable energy technologies in electricity, transport and heat to 2028, while exploring both challenges and barriers hindering further, faster growth.
Applauding the growth and adoption of renewables, Dr Fatih Birol, Executive Director of the IEA said: “It’s excellent news to see the historical and spectacular growth of renewable energy.
With this, Birol acknowledged while global renewable capacity is already on course to increase by two-and-a-half times by 2030, it is not yet on course to reach the goal of tripling renewables as set out at COP28 in Dubai. At the global conference, more than 130 nations and governments gathered and agreed to collectively work toward tripling the world’s existing installed renewable energy capacity by 2030 to 11,000GW.
“We’re not there, but we’re not a million miles away,” he added. “And governments have the tools needed to close the gap.
“For me, the most important challenge for the international community is rapidly scaling up financing and deployment of renewables in most emerging and developing economies, many of which are being left behind in the new energy economy. Success in meeting the tripling goal will hinge on this.”
Other renewable energy milestones of note
With renewables’ “spectacular” growth offering a “real chance” of significantly reduced consumption of fossil fuels, COP seems to have played a pivotal role in accelerating adoption and igniting further excitement in the renewables sector.
The IEA has also reported that across the whole of 2023, solar power accounted for 75% of new renewable energy capacity installed across the world. It disclosed that China is the home to most of the world’s new solar capacity. It also predicts that across key geographies like the US, Europe and Brazil, renewables are set to come out on top as the largest source of electricity generation by the start of next year, overtaking coal.
In light of renewables’ record growth, Socomec’s Technical Director for Energy Storage Systems, Jean-Marc Guillou, said: “This brings both optimism and a call to action. It's incredible to see the leaps we've made in renewable energy capacity in 2023, especially in the US and Europe. But there's a crucial piece of the puzzle still missing: our grid infrastructure needs to keep up.
“We're aiming for an ambitious 11,000GW by 2030, yet without more investment in our grids, this goal could slip through our fingers.
“What we need now, more than ever, is continued adoption and innovation in energy storage solutions. It's not just about generating clean power; it's about making sure it's there when we need it, ensuring it's affordable for all, and laying a stable foundation for our businesses and economies. The future of our energy is not just about being sustainable; it's about being smart, responsive, and inclusive. The path we choose today will shape our energy landscape for decades to come.”
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