The International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) previously released the "2021 Renewable Energy Installed Capacity Statistics" report, which shows that last year, the world installed more than 260 GW of new renewable energy capacity, an increase of nearly 50% year-on-year, a record high.
The industry generally believes that despite the global economic slowdown caused by the new crown pneumonia epidemic, the renewable energy industry still achieved more than expected growth, which marks the "green power era" is getting closer, 2021 will become the next period of rapid development of renewable energy new starting point. The industry urgently needs to increase the scale of investment and technological innovation during this period, to the maximum extent, the fastest speed to achieve energy transformation.
IRENA's data show that last year, all new power generation capacity, more than 80% from renewable energy, of which, solar and wind energy accounted for 91% of the new renewable energy installed. By the end of last year, the cumulative installed capacity of global renewable power generation has reached 2799 GW, an increase of 10.3% over 2019.
And in stark contrast to the strong growth of renewable power, fossil fuel power generation is on a downward trend. irena's report shows that last year, the global installed capacity of new fossil fuel power generation fell to 60 GW, down from 64 GW in 2019.
According to the report, hydropower still holds the largest share of the renewable power generation mix, with 25 GW of new capacity installed last year, up 2% year-on-year, bringing the cumulative total to 1,211 GW by the end of last year. Geothermal energy last year almost no new power generation installed, except for Turkey added 99 MW, other countries and regions increased very little, as of the end of last year, the total installed capacity of about 164 MW. Biomass energy installed new power generation fell year-on-year, from 6.4 GW in 2019 to 2.5 GW.
IRENA pointed out that "scenic" power continues to play a global installed power generation growth "main force". Among them, solar power accounted for more than 48% of new power generation installations. Thanks to the 78 GW of new installations in Asia, solar energy achieved 127 GW of new installations last year, up 22% year-on-year. Wind energy doubled year-on-year to 111 GW of new power generation installed, up from 58 GW in 2019. Of this, offshore wind increased its share of total installed wind power to 5%.
Francesco LaCamera, Director General of IRENA, said, "The strong growth of the renewable energy sector, despite the great challenges and uncertainties faced globally last year, has brought optimism to the world, while further encouraging global efforts towards a better, fairer, resilient, clean and just future. "
In its report, IRENA highlighted China as the key growth market where clean energy development was most prominent last year and has become the world's largest renewable energy market. Last year, China installed 136 gigawatts of new renewable power, including 72 gigawatts from wind, 49 GW from solar, 12 GW from hydropower, and more than 2 GW of installed biomass power growth.
And the U.S. data show that last year, the U.S. new renewable energy generation installed only 29 GW, of which 15 GW from solar, 14 GW from wind.
In addition to China and the United States, Japan installed more than 5 GW of new solar power, South Korea installed more than 4 GW of new solar power, and 10 other countries installed a total of more than 1 GW of new wind power.
The African region continues to steadily expand its clean energy generation footprint, with 2.6 GW of new capacity installed last year. Oceania, although occupying a small share of the renewable energy market, was the fastest growing region last year, adding 18.4% of new power generation installations year-on-year.
IRENA believes that clean energy is now seen as a safe investment option. As technology continues to advance, the cost of clean energy generation is falling rapidly, and wind and solar are now the cheapest sources of electricity in most parts of the world.
Investment bank Goldman Sachs expects clean energy capital expenditures, including biofuels, to account for 25% of all global energy capital expenditures in 2021, up from 15% in 2014. Given that clean energy is transitioning from relying on subsidy mechanisms to having a low-cost advantage, the next phase of the industry's development will undoubtedly continue to be dominated by technological innovation and breakthroughs. It is expected that a new group of clean energy giants will be born globally between 2021-2030.
"The era of renewable energy has arrived."
"The promising growth of renewable energy sources makes us reflect and gives us the opportunity to align our trajectory with the path towards inclusive prosperity." According to FrancescoLaCamera, "We are proving to be seizing this opportunity, and despite a very difficult last year, as we predicted, the time for renewables has come."
The industry also generally agrees that against the backdrop of the epidemic hitting the world, the cost of clean energy generation is still falling, the market for clean energy technologies is still expanding, and the benefits of the energy transition have never been more evident. The decade starting in 2021 is expected to be a "golden decade" for global climate action, environmental mitigation and investment in the clean energy transition.
However, Francesco LaCamera emphasized that such rapid clean energy trends will have to continue to advance if the Paris Agreement's goal of controlling warming to no more than 1.5 degrees Celsius is to be achieved. While many technologies to reduce carbon emissions from highly polluting industries already exist, they require funding to develop for industrial-scale use. The typical investment cycle for heavy industry is 25 years, with the next round of investment expected to begin around 2030.
The International Energy Agency (IEA) also notes that global spending on clean energy technologies will need to at least triple over the 10-year period beginning in 2021 to avoid the worst effects of climate change.
IEA Director General Fatih Birol said that in order to meet mid-century climate targets as soon as possible, governments need to invest more in clean energy technology research and development by 2030. "Achieving net zero emissions is nearly impossible without faster clean energy innovation, and setting ambitious climate targets is a brave policy decision, but achieving them will take more than courage."
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