Renewables are Growing, But Not Fast Enough

By  //  November 15, 2019

Renewable energy sources are the second largest source of electricity, and yet it still isn’t enough.

Renewable energy sources are the second largest source of electricity, and yet it still isn’t enough.

Climate change is one of the pressing issues of our time, and if we don’t transition to renewables we won’t achieve our long-term climate goals, according to the International Energy Agency.

The IEA released a report that analyzes global trends and developments for renewable energy in the electricity, heat, and transport sectors. It provides a forecast about renewable energy from the years of 2019 and 2024. 

Their analysis contains an in-depth look at distributed solar PV, which is set to double in capacity in the next five years and accounts for almost half of all solar growth.

This report assesses the current state of play and distributed solar maps out its huge growth potential within the next five years. Despite the growth in renewables, there needs to be a faster transition in order to achieve our climate goals. 

Solar Dominates Growth

While renewable energy usage has grown in general, solar PV drives strong rebound in renewable capacity additions. Meanwhile the capacity of renewable power is set to expand by 50 percent between the years of 2019 and 2024.

The increase is equivalent to the total installed power of the United States.

According to the experts at the site MoneyPug, which is known as one of the top energy comparison sites, almost 60 percent of the expected growth, with onshore wind represents one quarter of the growth.

On the other hand, offshore wind contributes 4 percent of the increase, with its capacity forecast set to triple by 2024. The growth of hydropower has slowed, although it still accounts for one-tenth of the total increase in renewable capacity.

Solar PV is the single largest source of additional expansion potential, followed by onshore wind and hydro. 

Expanding Markets

Offshore wind is stimulated by competitive auctions in the European Union and the market growth in China and the United States. The capacity of bioenergy grows as much as offshore wind.

The greatest expansions are in China, India, and the EU. China accounts for about 40 percent of the global renewable capacity expansion over the forecast period, which is higher than last year because of improved system integration, lower curtailment rates, and enhanced competitiveness of both solar and onshore wind. 

The EU also has an optimistic forecast, which results from higher planned renewable auction volumes and faster distribution of solar PV growth in their member states.

Wind and solar developers in the US are trying to finish projects before federal tax incentives end. Corporate power purchase agreements (PPAs) and state-level policies that contribute to growth. 

Overall Use of Renewables

The renewable capacity growth could be 26 percent higher than in the report’s main forecast. This would require systems of power to change their ways. Governments would need to address three pivotal issues.

First the policy and regulatory uncertainty needs to be made clear.

They need to make the high investment risks in developing countries. System integration of wind and solar needs to be implemented. 

While renewables are set to grow a lot in the next five years, the growth rate is still not enough to limit the carbon in our atmosphere, clean up the air, and keep up the climate stable.

This is because, though the US, China, the EU and even India are expanding their renewable use, at the end of the five year period of the forecast, coal will still be the number one fuel source in the world.

Even in the US, natural gas replaced coal recently and renewables are not far behind. 

However you look at it, the world needs to transition to renewable power to achieve necessary long-term climate goals. Despite the large growth in all renewables, it is limited to certain countries.

Most of the world lags behind. It is all of our responsibility to encourage the transition to clean, renewable power.

The forecast from the IEA shows that renewables will increase by half, but it needs to dominate the energy system of the world. Coal needs to be put to rest.

Natural gas should be limited, and our dependence on oil needs to be dealt with. We are headed in the right direction, we just need to move a little faster.