IRENA: A record 260 GW of new renewable energy source capacities installed in 2020

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 A record 260 GW of new renewable energy source capacities has been installed in the world in 2020, in spite of the impact of the pandemic, overriding the growth in 2019 by 50 percent,  as shown by the data of the International Renewable Energy Agency  (IRENA).

IRENA’s report ‘Renewable Capacity Statistics 2021’ indicates that the share of renewable energy in all new production capacities has grown considerably for the second year in a row. More than 50 percent of all new electric power production plants installed last year produce energy from renewable sources of which solar and wind energy dominate.

At the end of 2020, the global capacities of renewable energy amounted to 2.799 GW, while hydro-energy still represents the greatest share (1.211 GW) although solar and wind are quickly catching up. These two sources of renewable energy dominated with expanding capacities in 2020, with 127 GW (solar) and 111 GW (wind) of new installations.

Growth of renewable energy capacities /Photo: IRENA

China and the USA are the two key markets of growth. China, now already the largest world market of renewable energy sources added another 136 GW last year, most of it coming from wind (72 GW) and sun (49 GW). Last year, the USA installed 29 GW of renewable sources, almost 80 percent more than in 2019, including 15 GW of solar energy and about 15 GW of wind energy. Africa continued to constantly expand with a growth of 2.6 GW, somewhat more than in 2019, while Oceania remained the region with the fastest growth (+18.4 percent) although its share in the global capacity is small with almost the entire expansion taking place in Australia.

The increased share of renewable energy sources can partly be attributed to the decommissioning of plants producing energy from fossil fuels in Europe, North America, and for the first time across Euro-Asia (Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Russian Federation, and Turkey). Overall fossil fuel plant capacities fell from 64 GW in 2019 to 60 GW in 2020.

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