Renewables

Renewables, including solar, wind, hydro, biofuels and others, are at the centre of the transition to a less carbon-intensive and more sustainable energy system.

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Key findings

Renewable electricity capacity additions, 2007-2021, updated IEA forecast

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The Covid-19 crisis has led to a 20% revision in the IEA's 2020 forecast

The IEA forecasts that additions of renewable electricity capacity will decline by 13% in 2020 compared with 2019, the first downward trend since 2000. This is a 20% downward revision compared to our previous forecast in which 2020 was due to be a record year for renewable power. The update reflects both possible delays in construction activity due to supply chain disruptions, lockdown measures and social‑distancing guidelines, and emerging financing challenges. The outlook also takes into account ongoing policy uncertainty and market developments such as the most recent auctions and newly financed projects before the Covid-19 outbreak.

Renewable electricity generation by region and scenario, 2018-2040

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Renewables play a leading role in energy transitions

Cost reductions in renewables and advances in digital technologies are opening huge opportunities for energy transitions. Wind and solar PV provide more than half of the additional electricity generation to 2040 in the Stated Policies Scenario and almost all the growth in the Sustainable Development Scenario.

Share of renewables in power generation in the Sustainable Development Scenario, 2000-2030

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Renewable power needs to expand significantly to meet the IEA Sustainable Development Scenario share of half of generation by 2030

In 2018, renewable electricity generation rose 7%, with wind and solar PV technologies together accounting for 60% of this increase. Although the share of renewables in global electricity generation reached 26% in 2018, renewable power as a whole still needs to expand significantly to meet the Sustainable Development Scenario share of half of generation by 2030. This requires the rate of annual capacity additions to accelerate; however, renewable capacity growth stalled in 2018 for the first time since 2001.

Reports


The IEA/IRENA Renewables Policies Database provides information on policies and measures taken or planned to encourage the uptake of renewable energy in all IEA and IRENA Member countries and signatories.