Global Renewable Energy Growing at Fastest Rate in 20 Years, Says IEA

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In 2020, renewable energy generation grew at the fastest pace in the last twenty years, according to a report from the International Energy Agency (via CNBC).

In the report, the IEA said it expects the growth to continue following the COVID-19 pandemic, with the 2020 growth largely bolstered through policy decisions in the U.S. and China which sought to oppose pandemic-related supply chain disruptions.

Last year, renewable electricity jumped 45% to a total of 280 gigawatts (GW), signifying the largest increase year-over-year (YoY) since 1999. In addition, wind capacity additions surged over 90% in the same year, hitting 114 GW – although the IEA predicts a downturn in wind growth from 2021-2022, with solar expected to continue growth to over 160 GW installed per year by 2022.

IEA Executive Director Faith Birol said, “Wind and solar power are giving us more reasons to be optimistic about our climate goals as they break record after record.” Birol continued, “Last year, the increase in renewable capacity accounted for 90% of the entire global power sector’s expansion.”

In the U.S., President Joe Biden’s $174 billion EV investment in the recent infrastructure plan will help fuel the continued acceleration of renewables, which dedicated $100 billion on top of the EV-specific investment towards improving the electric grid, with another $600 billion going towards clean energy spending, as well as a 10-year extension of the federal EV tax credit program.

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