Bucking the slowdown in most of the power sector caused by responses to the COVID-19 pandemic, renewable energy actually grew in 2020, and will represent about 90% of the total power capacity added for the year, according to the International Energy Agency.
A surge in new projects from China and the U.S. led the charge for renewable power, which will account for almost 200 gigawatts of additional power-generating capacity around the world, according to the IEA’s “Renewables 2020.”
Big additions came from hydropower, solar and wind. Wind and solar power generating assets are expected to jump by 30% in both China and the U.S. as developers take advantage of incentives that are set to expire.
The agency predicts that India and the European Union will also jump in and add 10% of renewable capacity — marking the fastest period of growth for the industry since 2015.
These supply additions are in part due to the commissioning of projects delayed by the COVID-19 pandemic, which disrupted supply chains and put a stop to construction.
“Renewable power is defying the difficulties caused by the pandemic, showing robust growth while others fuels struggle,” said Dr. Fatih Birol, the IEA executive director, in a statement. “The resilience and positive prospects of the sector are clearly reflected by continued strong appetite from investors – and the future looks even brighter with new capacity additions on course to set fresh records this year and next.”