Solar PV is driving record capacity additions in Europe and China, as renewables prove their energy security advantages amid market instability

As per the International Energy Agency (IEA), the new capability for producing electricity from solar, wind, and other renewables reached a record high in 2021 and will continue to rise this year as governments strive to capitalize on renewables’ energy security as well as climate benefits.

As per the International Energy Agency’s newest Renewable Energy Market Update, the world installed a historic 295 gigawatts (GWs) of fresh renewable energy capacity in the year 2021, defying supply chain hurdles, building delays, as well as high raw material prices. Global capacity increases are likely to reach 320 gigawatts this year, close to satisfying Germany’s entire energy demand or reaching the European Union’s entire electricity production from natural gas. In 2022, solar PV is expected to account for 60% of worldwide renewable power growth, trailed by wind and hydropower.

In the European Union, annual additions grew by 30% to 36 gigawatts (GW) in 2021, ultimately surpassing the bloc’s previous high of 35 gigawatts set a decade before. The additional renewable capacity planned for 2022 as well as 2023 has the capability to minimize the European Union’s dependence on Russian gas in the power industry significantly. The real contribution, however, will be set by the effectiveness of parallel energy efficiency initiatives to keep the region’s energy demand under control.

“Recent energy market events, particularly in Europe, have once again demonstrated the critical role of renewables in ensuring energy security, in conjunction with their well-established efficiency at lowering emissions,” stated Fatih Birol, who works as the IEA Executive Director. “Reducing red tape, expediting permitting, and providing the correct incentives for quicker renewables deployment are some of the most essential activities governments can take to mitigate today’s energy security and market concerns while keeping alive the potential of meeting our worldwide climate objectives.”

Renewables have grown far faster than predicted so far this year, owing to strong policy backing in the Latin America, European Union, and China,  that has more than reimburse for slower than expected growth in the US. The outlook in the US is prevailed by uncertainty regarding additional wind and solar subsidies, as well as trade proceedings against solar PV imports from Southeast Asia and China.

However, based on current regulatory settings, worldwide renewable energy development is likely to decline next year. In the absence of more stringent policies,, worldwide renewable energy capacity additions are predicted to plateau in 2023, as sustained development in solar is offset by a 40% drop in hydropower growth and very little change in wind increases.

While energy markets confront numerous uncertainties, governments’ increased focus on affordability and energy security– especially in Europe – is giving additional impetus to initiatives to speed up the implementation of renewable energy technology and energy efficiency. The future for renewables in 2023 and beyond will thus be heavily influenced by whether or not new and stronger regulations are established and implemented in the next six months.

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