15 of January 2024

Global renewable electricity increased by 50% between 2022 and 2023

According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), global renewable electricity capacity increased by 50% between 2022 and 2023, and the next five years will see the fastest growth ever. However, the lack of funding for emerging and developing economies is a problem.


The "Renewables 2023" report, recently released by the International Energy Agency, reveals that last year around 507 gigawatts (GW) came on stream, 50% more than in 2022, and three quarters of these new installations were photovoltaic. China was once again the driving force behind this growth, with 66% more wind turbines than a year ago, but Europe, the United States and Brazil also reached unprecedented levels.


According to the latest edition of the IEA's annual market report on the sector, current policies and market conditions, global renewable energy production capacity is expected to increase to 7,300 GW in the period 2023-2028. Solar photovoltaics and wind power account for 95% of the expansion, with renewables overtaking coal to become the world's largest source of electricity generation by early 2025. However, despite the historic growth recorded in the last 12 months, this pace is still not enough to triple capacity by 2030, one of the objectives set at COP28.


"Under current market and policy conditions, global capacity would increase 2.5 times by 2030. This is still not enough to meet the COP28 target of tripling capacity, but we are getting closer and governments have the tools to make up the difference," summarizes Fatih Birol, director of the IEA.


What is needed to triple renewable energy by 2030 varies significantly by country, region and technology. The report presents an accelerated case where faster policy implementation leads to a 21% higher growth in renewable energy production capacity than predicted in the main forecast, which would put the world on track to meet the global tripling commitment.


In advanced and large emerging economies, this would mean addressing challenges such as policy uncertainty in a fragile economic environment, insufficient investment in grid infrastructure to accommodate greater shares of renewables, and cumbersome administrative barriers and permitting delays. In other emerging and developing economies, access to finance, strong governance and robust regulatory frameworks are essential to reduce risk and attract investment, including establishing new targets and policies in countries where they do not exist yet.


In 2023, the role of biofuels has also come to the fore. Emerging economies, led by Brazil and India, are expected to drive 70% of global demand over the next five years, as biofuels begin to show their true potential in hard-to-abate sectors such as air transport and as a substitute for highly polluting fuels such as diesel. Although the deployment of biofuels is accelerating, the report shows that this is not happening quickly enough, and a significant iincrease required in demand by 2030 needed to align biofuels with a net zero pathway.


"Renewables 2023" is the IEA's main report on the sector, based on current policies and market developments. It forecasts the deployment of renewable energy technologies in electricity, transport and heating by 2028, while exploring the sector's main challenges and identifying obstacles to faster growth.


Source: International Energy Agency