Renewable capacity set for 50% growth over next few years, IEA says

The Creative Drone | The Image Bank | Getty ImagesRenewable power capacity is forecast to increase by 50% between 2019 and 2024, the International Energy Agency (IEA) said Monday.According to its “Renewables 2019” market report, the increase will amount to 1,200 gigawatts (GW) and be driven by drops in cost and what the IEA described as “concerted government policy efforts.” In 2018, renewable capacity hit just over 2,500 GW. If the IEA’s forecast plays out, it would bring total renewable capacity to approximately 3,700 GW by 2024.Capacity refers to the maximum amount that installations can produce, not what they are currently generating.Solar photovoltaics (PV) are due to make up nearly 60% of the expected rise, with the onshore wind sector accounting for 25% and offshore wind responsible for 4%. Photovoltaic refers to a way of directly converting light from the sun into electricity.The IEA said that distributed solar PV – systems installed on commercial buildings, homes and in industry – would make up nearly half of the increase in the solar PV market.Overall, renewables’ share in worldwide power generation is seen growing from 26% now to 30% in 2024.”Renewables are already the world’s second largest source of electricity, but their deployment still needs to accelerate if we are to achieve long-term climate, air quality and energy access goals,” Fatih Birol, the IEA’s Executive Director, said in a statement issued Monday.The IEA noted that challenges remained in the shape of “policy and regulatory uncertainty, high investment risks and system integration of wind and solar PV.”For 2019, renewable power capacity additions are seen increasing by 12% following a stall last year.Growth this year is being driven by solar PV, which has benefited from “rapid expansion in the European Union”, a stronger Indian market and an “installation boom” in Vietnam. Growth in the onshore wind sector is also cited as a contributing factor. In July, a research note from analysts at UBS said that 2018 saw global energy demand increase at its fastest rate since 2010.The note said that although there was a “growing desire” to transition away from fossil fuels, “demand for most energy resources, including fossil fuels” would continue to rise. It added that while renewable fuel supplies were set to increase at a fast pace, diversification from non-renewable resources would be expensive and time consuming.

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