US and China drive record expansion in green energy

A record amount of renewable energy capacity was built last year, thanks largely to investments in China and the US, the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) said yesterday.

A record amount of renewable energy capacity was built last year, thanks largely to investments in China and the US, the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) said yesterday.

Renewables — mostly in the form of wind and solar — accounted for 82 percent of new electricity installation last year, said Abu Dhabi-based IRENA, which advises governments on clean power.

China added 136 gigawatts (GW), more than half the total and a similar amount to Spain’s overall power production.

“These numbers tell a remarkable story,” IRENA director-general Francesco La Camera said. “Despite the difficult period, as we predicted, 2020 marks the start of the decade of renewables. Costs are falling, clean tech markets are growing and never before have the benefits of the energy transition been so clear.”

Renewables still lag dirtier forms of electricity generation, with their share of total capacity rising two percentage points from 2019 to 36.6 percent, the agency said in a report.

There was still “a huge amount to be done,” the organization said.

Decarbonization to limit the worst effects of climate change will require a 10-fold expansion in renewable energy through 2050, or investment of US$4.4 trillion a year, it said earlier this month.

China, which is both the largest market for clean power and the world’s biggest polluter, built 72GW of wind energy and 49GW of solar last year, according to the report.

The US installed 29GW of renewables, almost 80 percent more than in 2019.

While renewable capacity grew, there was a net decommissioning of fossil-fuel power generation in Europe, North America and nations such as Russia and Turkey, the report said.

Total fossil fuel additions fell to 60GW last year from 64GW the previous year, it added.

 

Originally Published at Taipei Times

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