IRENA: New Renewables Account for Three-Quarters of 2019’s Power Expansion


The renewable energy sector added 176 GW of generating capacity globally in 2019, slightly lower than the 179 GW added in 2018. However, new renewable power accounted for 72% of all power expansion last year, according to new data released by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA).

IRENA’s annual Renewable Capacity Statistics 2020 shows that renewables expanded by 7.6% last year, with Asia dominating growth and accounting for 54% of total additions. While the expansion of renewables slowed last year, total renewable power growth outpaced fossil fuel growth by a factor of 2.6, continuing the dominance of renewables in power expansion first established in 2012. Solar and wind contributed 90% of total renewable capacity added in 2019.

“Renewable energy is a cost-effective source of new power that insulates power markets and consumers from volatility, supports economic stability and stimulates sustainable growth,” says Francesco La Camera, director-general of IRENA. 

“With renewable additions providing the majority of new capacity last year, it is clear that many countries and regions recognize the degree to which the energy transition can deliver positive outcomes,” he adds.

Solar added 98 GW in 2019, 60% of which was in Asia. Wind energy expanded by close to 60 GW, led by growth in China (26 GW) and the U.S. (9 GW). The two technologies now generate 623 GW and 586 GW, respectively – close to half of global renewable capacity. 

To read IRENA’s full report on 2019’s added renewable capacity, click here

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