PARIS, FRANCE – Renewable power capacity will grow by a record number this year as high fossil fuel prices and energy security concerns fueled the deployment of solar and wind systems, the International Energy Agency said on Thursday.
Global additions of renewable energy capacity are expected to rise by 107 gigawatts to more than 440 GW in 2023, the IEA said in an updated report on the sector.
“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,” IEA executive director Fatih Birol said in a statement.
The world’s total renewable electricity capacity is expected to surge to 4,500 GW next year, equal to the power output of China and the United States together, the agency added.
China will cement its place as the main driver of growth in the sector, accounting for 55 percent of global additions this year and the next.
The IEA said it raised its forecast for renewable capacity additions in Europe by 40 percent as countries stepped up efforts to seek alternatives to Russian natural gas following Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine.
Newly installed solar and wind capacity is estimated to have save EU electricity consumers US$107 billion (100 billion euros) between 2021-2023 by displacing costlier fossil fuels, according to the agency, which advises developed nations.
“The global energy crisis has shown renewables are critical for making energy supplies not just cleaner but also more secure and affordable,” Birol said.
Solar additions will account for two-thirds of this year’s growth.
Solar photovoltaic plants are growing while higher electricity prices are driving growth in small-scale rooftop system that are “more financially attractive”.
Increased policy support in key European markets such as Germany, Italy and the Netherlands is also fuelling the growth.
Wind power is forecast to rebound this year with 70 percent year-on-year growth after a sluggish two-year period, the IEA said.
The surge is mainly due to the completion of projects that had been delayed by Covid restrictions in China and supply chain problems in the United States and Europe.