New Delhi: Despite COVID-19 pandemic, more than 260 gigawatt (GW) of renewable energy capacity was added globally last year, exceeding expansion in 2019 by close to 50 per cent, according to a new report.It added that renewable energy’s share of all new generating capacity rose considerably for the second year in a row.“More than 80 per cent of all new electricity capacity added last year was renewable, with solar and wind accounting for 91 per cent of new renewables,” according to data released on Monday by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) in its annual Renewable Capacity Statistics 2021.
It said that total fossil fuel additions fell to 60 GW in 2020 from 64 GW the previous year highlighting a continued downward trend of fossil fuel expansion. “Despite the difficult period, as we predicted, 2020 marks the start of the decade of renewables. Costs are falling, clean tech markets are growing and never before have the benefits of the energy transition been so clear,” said Francesco La Camera, director-general, IRENA.
According to IRENA, the 10.3 per cent rise in installed capacity represents expansion that beats long-term trends of more modest growth year on year. The two variable sources of renewables dominated capacity expansion in 2020 with 127 GW and 111 GW of new installations for solar and wind, respectively.
It added that wind energy’s expansion almost doubled in 2020 compared to 2019 — 111 GW compared to 58 GW last year. While, total solar capacity reached about the same level as wind capacity now because of expansion in Asia, 78 GW, in 2020. Major capacity increases in China with 49 GW and Viet Nam with 11 GW. India and the Republic of Korea both expanded solar capacity by more than 4 GW.