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World added record renewable capacity last year

Data from the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) has confirmed that the world added record amounts of new renewable capacity last year, despite the economic slowdown brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic. 

In total, 260 GW of renewables were installed, exceeding 2019 levels by nearly 50%. More than 80% of all new electricity capacity added last year was renewable, with solar and wind making up 91% of new renewables. 

The rising share of total capacity can partly be explained by the net decommissioning of fossil power generation in Europe and North America, as well as in parts of Eurasia. China and the US proved to be the year’s largest growth markets, with 136 GW and 29 GW added respectively. Of China’s total additions, 72 GW came from wind and 49 GW came from solar. Meanwhile, the United States added 15 GW of solar and 14 GW of wind.

‘Despite the difficult period, as we predicted, 2020 marks the start of the decade of renewables,’ says Francesco La Camera, IRENA’s Director-General. ‘Costs are falling, clean tech markets are growing and never before have the benefits of the energy transition been so clear.’

At the end of 2020, global renewable generation capacity amounted to 2,799 GW with hydropower still accounting for the largest share (1,211 GW) although solar and wind are catching up rapidly. The two variable sources of renewables dominated capacity expansion in 2020, with 127 GW and 111 GW of new installations for solar and wind, respectively.

News Item details

Journal title: Energy World

Organisation: International Renewable Energy Agency

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