Renewables Are on Pace to Beat Coal as the Largest Power Source by 2025

Renewables Are on Pace to Beat Coal as the Largest Power Source by 2025

The global energy crisis caused by Russia’s war against Ukraine has “sparked unprecedented momentum for renewable energy,” according to a Tuesday report from the International Energy Agency.

IEA projected that global renewable energy capacity will increase by 2,400 gigawatts between 2022 and 2027–an 85 percent jump in comparison to the growth rate in the last five years. Renewables will overtake coal as the world’s largest electricity source by 2025, the report said.

The five-year growth forecast for renewables is 30 percent higher than what IEA projected in last year’s report, marking the group’s “largest ever upward revision,” the report said.

The shift “is a clear illustration of how the current crisis can be a historic turning-point towards a cleaner, more secure energy system,” stated Fatih Birol (executive director at IEA), in a statement.

Both higher fossil energy prices than concerns about disruptions to energy supply are driving the acceleration in wind, solar, and other renewables, IEA analysts wrote.

According to Pierpaolo Czzola, a global researcher at Columbia University’s Center on Global Energy Policy (Columbia University), growth for renewables should continue to be “robust” across Europe and beyond, even as fossil energy prices start to fall or fluctuate.

” Even if fossil energy prices fell, Europe would still need to import. This would be paired with price volatility. Cazzola stated in an email that Europe will continue to have a structural desire to electrify and increase its dependence on domestically produced renewable energies.

In IEA’s forecast, solar and wind power will account for the majority of renewable energy’s expansion between 2022 and 2027.

“Green “Hydrogen”–produced by a water-splitting technology powered by renewable energy- will be a driver for wind and solar power expansion. It accounts for approximately 2 percent of the growth in renewable capacity, IEA stated.

According to the report,

Solar is still the most economically viable option for new electricity generation in most parts of the world. Solar alone makes up over 60 percent of the projected expansion of renewable energy capacity annually over the next five years, and is expected to outpace coal in terms of installations by 2027, IEA said.

According to Heymi Bahar (a senior renewable energy analyst at IEA), permitting timelines for wind project lag behind those for solar project in many parts.

“Also the social acceptance of solar compared to wind is significantly lower, making these investments more difficult,” Bahar stated in a press conference Thursday.

The report stated that the world could accelerate renewables’ growth by taking steps to improve grid infrastructure, address policy uncertainty, permit challenges, and secure financing for projects in developing nations.

Birol stated that Europe has yet to make the most of renewables’ potential to replace Russian gas at its expense during a press briefing. Birol stated that the IEA will issue a list of recommendations to European policymakers in order to address winter shortages of natural gases for space heating.

The report also forecasts that the growth of renewable generation capacity will be less than what is needed for the global energy industry to achieve net-zero greenhouse gases emissions by 2050.

The world, and Europe in particular, is responding to the energy crisis with energy efficiency measures. This was according to the latest yearly report on energy efficiency that was released earlier this month. The organization stated that global investments in energy efficiency will reach only half the level required to achieve a net zero greenhouse gas emissions scenario in the second decade.

Even so, Birol stated that “it’s far too early to write an obituary for the 1.5 degree target,” which refers to the goal to limit global average warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius.

Reprinted from E&E News with permission from POLITICO, LLC. Copyright 2022. E&E News delivers vital news to professionals in the energy and environment industries.

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