The decade of renewables

IRENA’s annual Renewable Capacity Statistics 2021 shows the world added more than 260 GW of renewable energy capacity in 2020, exceeding expansion in 2019 by almost 50%. This is despite the global economic slowdown that resulted from the COVID-19 pandemic.  

The data released yesterday reveals that renewable energy’s share of all new generating capacity rose considerably for the second year in a row. Over 80% of all new electricity capacity added last year was renewable, with solar and wind accounting for 91% of new renewables.  

IRENA attributes renewables’ rising share of the total to net decommissioning of fossil fuel power generations in Europe, North America and for the first time across Eurasia. Total fossil fuel additions fell to 60 GW in 2020 from 64 GW the previous year underlining a continued downward trend of fossil fuel expansion. 

“Costs are falling, clean tech markets are growing and never before have the benefits of the energy transition been so clear. This trend is unstoppable.” said IRENA’s Director-General Francesco La Camera. But he also cautions there is a lot to be done. “Our 1.5 degree outlook shows significant planned energy investments must be redirected to support the transition if we are to achieve 2050 goals. In this critical decade of action, the international community must look to this trend as a source of inspiration to go further.” 

Read the full press release here