Renewable power set for another record growth year, says watchdog

Paris, Dec 1 (EFE).- Global renewable power capacity will increase by three percent this year, as compared to 2020, the International Energy Agency (IEA) said Wednesday, after weathering the Covid-19 storm.

In its annual report, the Paris-based energy watchdog said the power capacity was on track to set a record in 2021, driven by solar photovoltaic technology since “almost 290 gigawatts of new renewable power will be commissioned this year.”

“(It) is 3 percent higher than 2020’s already exceptional growth,” said the watchdog.

The agency said renewable electricity capacity was likely to grow globally by 60 percent by 2026, despite various “challenges” facing the sector due to increasing costs.

“The high commodity and energy prices we are seeing today pose new challenges for the renewable industry. But elevated fossil fuel prices also make renewables even more competitive,” IEA Executive Director Fatih Birol said.

“This year’s record renewable electricity additions of 290 gigawatts are yet another sign that a new global energy economy is emerging.”

Solar energy will account for more than half of renewable power expansion in 2021, followed by wind and hydro-power.

The renewable expansion would account for almost 95 percent of the total power capacity growth by 2026, said the IEA.

China will lead the way over the next five years with 43 percent of the total, followed by Europe, the United States, and India.

“These four markets alone account for 80 percent of renewable capacity expansion worldwide,” the report noted.

The IEA said by 2026, global renewable generation capacity would have reached 4,800 GW, equivalent to the current combined fossil and nuclear energy capacities.

However, the report warned of challenges to faster growth in the sector, including a lack of policy and financial incentives and social opposition that canceled or delayed projects.

Biofuels could see their demand increase by “more than double” between 2021 and 2026.

India, the European Union, the US, and China are already considering implementing policies to boost clean energy.

“However, relatively higher cost of biofuels compared with gasoline or diesel remains a key challenge,” the report said.

By 2026, India will become the third-largest market for ethanol demand, one of the main types of biofuel, with the US and Brazil occupying the top two spots.

Asia is also set to overtake Europe as a world producer of biofuel in five years.

The explosion of green hydrogen is also addressed in the report.

“While large companies and countries have announced ambitious green hydrogen expansion plans for the next two decades, it remains uncertain how many of these projects will actually be commissioned on time and on budget,” the report notes.

One of the main obstacles to this energy is that “in many parts of the world the cost of producing hydrogen from renewable electricity remains higher than fossil fuel alternatives.”

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