Defying the disruption caused by lockdown, global renewable electricity installation will hit a record level in 2020, according to the International Energy Agency, in sharp contrast to the declines in the fossil fuel sectors.
“Renewable power is defying the difficulties caused by the pandemic, showing robust growth while others fuels struggle,” said Fatih Birol, IEA’s director. “The resilience and positive prospects of the sector are clearly reflected by continued strong appetite from investors.”
The IEA report, published this week, shows nearly 90 percent of new electricity generation in 2020 will be renewable, with just 10 percent powered by gas and coal. This trajectory puts green electricity on course to become the largest power source in 2025, finally displacing coal, which has dominated for the past five decades.
Renewable energy has, happily, become increasingly attractive to investors. The IEA reports that shares in renewable equipment makers and project developers have outperformed most major stock market indices and that the value of shares in solar companies has more than doubled in the last 2 years, reports The Guardian.
Despite having a 'former' climate-sceptic president, the US is one of the world’s biggest markets for renewables and, if Joe Biden's $2 trillion Green Deal is implemented, would see US deployment accelerate even faster.
“In 2025, renewables are set to become the largest source of electricity generation worldwide, ending coal’s five decades as the top power provider,” Birol said. “By that time, renewables are expected to supply one-third of the world’s electricity.”
Solar power capacity has increased by 18 times since 2010 and wind power by four times, according to IEA data. In October, Birol said: “I see solar becoming the new king of the world’s electricity markets.”
According to the IEA, there's even stronger growth to come in 2021 when India and the European Union will be the driving forces.