France – In a new analysis, the IEA believes the global energy crisis is accelerating renewable power installations, which will virtually quadruple in the next five years, replacing coal as the leading source of electricity generation and helping keep global warming below 1.5 °C.
After Russia invaded Ukraine, countries have turned to renewables like solar and wind to minimize their dependency on imported fossil fuels, whose costs have skyrocketed. According to Renewables 2022, the IEA’s latest annual study on the industry, global renewable power capacity would expand by 2,400 gigawatts (GW) between 2022 and 2027, equal to China’s current power capacity.
This tremendous surge is 30% higher than what was projected a year ago, showing how swiftly governments have backed renewables. Renewables will account for over 90% of global electricity expansion during the next five years, surpassing coal as the main source of world electricity by early 2025.
European governments and businesses are aiming to quickly replace Russian gas with renewables due to the Ukraine war. Energy security concerns and climate objectives are expected to double Europe’s renewable power capacity between 2022–27. EU member states might accelerate wind and solar PV deployment by streamlining and decreasing permitting times, improving auction designs and schedule visibility, and strengthening rooftop solar incentive schemes.
China, the US, and India are also accelerating energy policy and market changes to boost renewable power growth over the next five years. China is predicted to install over half of new worldwide renewable power capacity between 2022 and 2027 due to its 14th Five-Year Plan. The US Inflation Reduction Act has given renewables new backing and long-term visibility.
Solar surpassing coal
Utility-scale solar PV and onshore wind generate the cheapest new electricity in most countries. Over 2022–2027, solar PV capacity will virtually treble, surpassing coal as the world’s greatest power source. Solar panel installations on home and commercial rooftops, which lower energy expenditures, are also expected to increase. One-fifth of global wind capacity increase comes from offshore projects. Over the next five years, wind and solar will contribute 90% of renewable electricity capacity.
New regulations in the US and India are likely to increase solar manufacturing investment by USD 25 billion between 2022 and 2027, according to the analysis. China’s manufacturing capacity may drop from 90% to 75% by 2027.
Over 2022–2027, worldwide biofuel demand will rise 22%. The US, Canada, Brazil, Indonesia, and India account for 80% of biofuel consumption growth, and all five have comprehensive policies to assist growth.
The paper also presents an expedited scenario in which renewable power capacity grows 25% more than expected. In industrialized economies, quicker development would require legislative and permitting changes and faster renewable electricity penetration in heating and transport. In emerging and developing economies, it would mean addressing governmental and regulatory uncertainty, insufficient grid infrastructure, and a lack of affordable finance that are stalling new initiatives.
The expedited case includes resolving supply chain challenges, expanding grids, and adding flexibility resources to safely manage more variable renewables worldwide. Faster renewables growth in the accelerated case would put the world on a path to net zero emissions by 2050, which has a 50/50 chance of preventing global warming to 1.5 °C.