Renewable energy hits record levels

Record levels are good news but it’s still only half of what is needed to hit net zero by 2050

Record amounts of renewable energy was generated in 2021, the International Energy Agency (IEA) said in its yearly review. Around 290 gigawatts of new renewable power capacity has been created, beating 2020’s record of 280 gigawatts.

If this current trend continues, the capacity for renewable energy creation could surpass the total created by fossil fuels and nuclear by 2026.

However, these levels are still only half of what is needed to be on track to hit net zero emissions by 2050.

The lead author of the IEA’s review, Heymi Bahar, said: “We need a gear change to meet net zero. We have already seen a very important gear change in recent years but we need to move up another gear now. It is possible, we have the tools. Governments need to show more ambition, not just on targets but on policy measures and plans.”

There is some concern that higher commodity prices could threaten growth of renewables by driving up the cost of wind turbine and solar panel production and transportation.

Executive Director of the IEA said: “This year’s record renewable energy additions are yet another sign that a new global energy economy is emerging. The high commodity and energy prices we are seeing today pose new challenges for the renewable industry, but elevated fossil fuel prices also make renewables even more competitive.”

She added that the global energy supply shortage “definitely provides a setback, but at the same time it shows us the way out”.

 

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