Renewable power is defying the Covid-19 pandemic – IEA


According to a press release by the International Energy Agency (IEA), renewable power is defying the Covid-19 crisis. This sector will account for almost 90% of the increase in total electricity capacity worldwide in 2020, and forecasts expect it to accelerate even more in 2021.

This trend represents the renewables fastest market growth in the last six years.

Renewable power at the forefront – IEA

In contrast with sharp declines due to the Covid-19 crisis in many other sectors like the oil and gas and coal ones, renewable power is growing increasingly worldwide this year.

This boost was propelled mainly in China and the United States since new renewable power capacity additions in those countries were made. According to the IEA Renewables 2020 report, renewable electricity capacity will increase to almost 200 gigawatts (GW) this year.

Such a rise represents almost 90% of the total expansion in global overall power capacity. Among the technologies behind this increase are solar PV, wind, and hydropower projects.

In both the U.S. and China, the agency expects wind and solar additions to jump by 30%. IEA recommends developers to rush and take advantage of expiring incentives to cleaner power technologies.

In that regard, IEA expects even more robust growth in the rest of the world. India and the European Union will probably drive forces to a record expansion on global renewable capacity additions of nearly 10% in 2021.

This situation results from the already commissioning of delayed projects disrupted by the pandemic’s arrival.  Therefore, India is expected to be the largest renewable power contributor in 2021, with the country doubling its annual additions from 2020.

The IEA Executive Director, Dr. Faith Birol, said, “Renewable power is defying the difficulties caused by the pandemic, showing robust growth while other fuels struggle.”

In the executive’s words, this resilience is reflected by a continued appetite from investors.

International examples

From January to October this year, China, India, and the European Union boosted its renewable power capacities worldwide 15% higher than in the same 2019’s period.

In that regard, several publicly listed renewable equipment developers have been outperforming in most of the stock market indices from December 2019.

Although this boosting trend seems to be long-term, the IEA suggests policymakers support even more the current momentum behind renewables. The agency’s report experts observed that the expiry of incentives for renewables capacity additions could lead the market to decline 2022.

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Nevertheless, if countries address these adjust policies in time, the agency estimates that those additions could increase by a further 25% in the same period.

The report adds that critical factors around the pace of renewable power deployment will be policies in key markets as China and sustained support for rooftop solar PV.

In that sense, the agency states in the report that “renewables are resilient to the Covid crisis but not to policy uncertainties,” Therefore, governments should tackle these issues to accelerate their clean energy transitions.

Finally, by 2025 the agency expects renewables to become the largest electricity generation source worldwide, ready to supply one-third of the world’s electricity.

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