Exceptional new normal’: IEA raises growth forecast for wind and solar by another 25%

The International Energy Agency (IEA) has raised its forecast for the global growth of wind and solar by another 25% compared to figures it published just six months ago.

Furthermore, the IEA’s “renewable energy market update” forecasts nearly 40% higher growth in 2021 than it expected a year ago, putting wind and solar on track to match global gas capacity by 2022.

The Paris-based agency says a “huge” 280 gigawatts (GW) of renewable capacity – primarily wind and solar – was installed globally last year, some 45% higher than the level in 2019, after the largest annual increase in more than 20 years.

This “exceptional” level of annual additions will become the “new normal” in 2021 and 2022, the IEA says, with the potential for further acceleration in the years that follow.

Overall, the IEA says that renewables accounted for 90% of new electricity generating capacity added globally last year and that they will meet the same share in each of the next two years.

Raising renewables

In its latest update, the IEA says wind and solar growth forecasts have been “revised upwards by over 25% from last year”.

This is based on comparing the new forecast for growth in 2021 (red line in the chart below) to the “main case” published in November 2020 (dashed mid blue). Looking at the figures for 2022, the IEA’s new forecast is 30% higher than the main one it published last November.

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