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World will add record 107 GW of renewables capacity this year, says IEA

Wind capacity additions will rebound in 2023, IEA notes, but warns that growth in 2024 will require government impetus. Image: Pexels

Global renewable power capacity is expected to jump 107 gigawatts (GW) – the largest absolute increase ever – to over 440 GW this year, according to the International Energy Agency.

The addition will expand global renewables capacity by 33 percent over the existing 333 GW capacity to take the total to 440 GW by year end, the agency estimates in a new report.

Solar PV and wind capacities will lead the growth, the agency says, supported by growing policy momentum, higher fossil fuel prices and concerns over energy security. "Solar and wind are leading the rapid expansion of the new global energy economy" IEA Executive Director Fatih Birol said, adding, "This year, 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."

Renewable capacity addition will ramp up exponentially in the coming year, with total renewable electricity capacity rising to a whopping 4,500 gigawatts (GW), equal to the total power output of China and the US combined, the report says. 

But experts believe the world needs to do more, and cannot afford complacency. Speaking exclusively to ETN last month, Francesco La Camara, Director General of the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), pointed out that the world needed to add 1000 GW of renewables capacity a year until 2030. 

This year, solar PV additions will account for 66 percent of the increase in renewable power capacity. The trend is forecast to continue in 2024, with expansion in large-scale solar PV plants supported by growth in smaller solar PV systems as well. The report finds that increased electricity prices are proving a stimulus to consumers, who are installing rooftop solar PV systems to reduce their electricity bills. 

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Addition of wind power capacity will witness is sharp rebound in 2023, growing by almost 70% year-on-year after a difficult couple of years. IEA says the jump in capacity is mainly due to the completion of projects delayed by Covid-19 restrictions in China and by supply chain issues in Europe and the US.

However, growth for 2024 will require greater policy support: the report notes that wind turbine supply chains aren't growing fast enough to match demand, raising the possibility of demand-supply mismatch over the medium-term. This is mainly due to rising commodity prices and challenges in the supply chain, which have marred profitability. 

RELATED: In Europe, a turbine maker appeals for direct cash transfer 

IEA expects global solar PV manufacturing capacity is expected to more than double to 1,000 GW by 2024, led by expansion in China and increased supply diversification in the US, India and Europe. Analyzing the trend, IEA concludes that the world will have sufficient solar PV manufacturing capacity by 2030 to meet the demand envisaged in the agency's predictions for a net zero emissions by 2050.

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