IEA’s report shows promise for accelerated renewable energy

With comment from Fatih Birol, the International Energy Agency’s report shows the renewable energy trends and how policy will help meet global demands

There’s a major shift happening globally. More and more countries are chipping away at their fossil fuel reserves and powering forward with renewable energy solutions that will allow them to not only meet climate needs, but are also future-proofing to avoid disruption from new events like those already impacting energy resources. 

According to a recent update from the International Energy Agency (IEA), global additions of renewable power capacity are expected to increase by one-third by the end of 2023. The surge is driven by a combination of growing policy momentum, higher fossil fuel prices, and concerns about energy security, which is influencing a much stronger deployment of solar PV and wind power solutions.

The positive trend is projected to continue into the following year, with the world's total renewable electricity capacity reaching 4,500 gigawatts (GW). To put this into perspective, that's equivalent to the total power output of China and the United States combined, as stated in the IEA's Renewable Energy Market Update.

In 2023, global renewable capacity additions are predicted to skyrocket by 107 GW, marking the largest absolute increase ever recorded, and surpassing 440 GW in total. This dynamic expansion is occurring across major markets worldwide. 

Renewables are playing a crucial role in Europe's response to the energy crisis, accelerating their growth in the region. In the United States and India, new policy measures are also driving significant increases in renewable capacity over the next two years. Meanwhile, China is solidifying its leading position and is expected to account for nearly 55% of global additions of renewable power capacity in both 2023 and 2024.

According to the organisation’s Executive Director Fatih Birol, “Solar and wind are leading the rapid expansion of the new global energy economy. This year, the world is set to add a record-breaking amount of renewables to electricity systems – more than the total power capacity of Germany and Spain combined.”

Key findings from the IEA’s Renewable Energy Market Update 

Summarised by the report, there are a few key areas for change over the next one and a half years with global renewable energy capacity increasing by 107 gigawatts globally, which will be the largest ever jump in sustainable solutions. By the end of 2023, there are hopes to reach 440 GW, equating to an energy network that exceeds the combined capacity of Germany and Spain. 

Two thirds of the increased energy capacity in 2023 is due to the increase in the number of renewable solutions, which are backed by higher investments to overtake fossil fuels. Many policy makers, especially those operating in European countries, are actively seeking alternative means to energy to provide future security for the industry and their societies. Instead of aiming for larger installations, there’s a focus on driving more solar PV applications for residential and commercial applications to reduce rollout times. 

With electric vehicles (EVs) entering the market, commercial solar solutions will be well-received as more renewable power is required on sites where vehicle charging installations are being developed. In 2022, around 600,000 slow public charging points were installed globally with a more accelerated approach taking the industry to a much higher number with rapid and ultra-fast charging solutions a priority for firms in various industries. 

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