Deployment Trends in Renewable Energy Business in 2023: IRENA

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International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) revealed that 2023 witnessed an unprecedented surge in renewable energy deployment, with a global capacity totaling 3,870 Gigawatts (GW) in the power sector.

Renewables constituted a remarkable 86 percent of the total capacity added during the year. However, despite this significant growth, the distribution of renewable energy installations remains uneven across the globe, indicating a deviation from the trajectory required to meet the ambitious targets set for 2030, IRENA said.

The report highlights that the majority of the expansion, totaling 473 GW, was spearheaded by Asia, which accounted for a substantial 69 percent share (326 GW) of the global increase. China emerged as the frontrunner in this growth, with its capacity soaring by 63 percent, reaching 297.6 GW.

This disparity underscores a concerning trend, leaving many developing countries lagging behind. Although Africa experienced some growth, it was relatively modest, with an increase of 4.6 percent resulting in a total capacity of 62 GW.

Francesco La Camera, Director-General of IRENA, emphasized the significance of this surge in renewable capacity, asserting that renewables remain the most viable option for rapidly advancing the energy transition in line with the objectives of the Paris Agreement.

However, Francesco La Camera cautioned that the pace of progress falls short of the monumental task of adding 7.2 TW of renewable power within the next seven years, as outlined in IRENA’s World Energy Transitions Outlook 1.5°C Scenario.

There’s an urgent need for policy interventions and global initiatives to address structural barriers and foster local value creation, particularly in emerging markets and developing economies. The prevailing concentration of renewable energy deployment poses a significant obstacle to achieving the tripling target and exacerbates the disparity in decarbonization efforts.

The IRENA report also sheds light on the driving forces behind renewable energy expansion in different regions. In China, the increasing competitiveness of solar and wind energy against traditional coal and gas power generation emerged as a primary catalyst. Conversely, in the European Union (EU), a combination of policy focus and heightened energy security concerns propelled rapid growth, alongside the growing cost-competitiveness of renewables compared to fossil fuels.

Significant expansions were observed in other regions, including the Middle East with a 16.6 percent increase and Oceania with a 9.4 percent increase. Moreover, the G7 countries collectively augmented their capacity by 7.6 percent, adding 69.4 GW in 2023, while the G20 nations recorded a 15.0 percent increase, reaching a cumulative capacity of 3,084 GW. However, achieving the tripling target necessitates the G20 members alone to reach 9.4 TW of renewable power capacity by 2030.

Solar energy continued to dominate renewable generation capacity expansion, constituting 73 percent of the growth in 2023, reaching 1,419 GW. Wind power followed closely with a 24 percent share of renewable expansion.

IRENA’s 1.5°C Scenario underscores the imperative for massive scaling up of financing and international collaboration to accelerate the energy transition, with a particular focus on developing countries. Investments in power grids, generation, flexibility, and storage are deemed essential to realize the goal of tripling renewable power capacity by 2030, necessitating a strengthening of institutions, policies, and skills.

Technology Highlights:

Solar Energy: Solar photovoltaics witnessed a remarkable increase of 345.5 GW, with China alone contributing 216.9 GW to the total expansion.

Renewable Hydropower (Excluding Pumped Hydro): Capacity reached 1,270 GW, with notable expansions in Australia, China, Colombia, and Nigeria.

Wind Energy: Wind capacity grew by 13 percent, reaching a total of 1,017 GW by the end of 2023, with significant contributions from China and the United States.

Bioenergy: Expansion slowed to a 3 percent increase, adding 4.4 GW, primarily in China, Japan, Brazil, and Uruguay.

Geothermal Energy: Modest growth of 193 MW was recorded, led by Indonesia.

Off-grid Electricity: Capacity outside Europe, North America, and Eurasia grew by 4.6 percent, reaching 12.7 GW, predominantly driven by off-grid solar energy, which reached 5 GW by 2023. News Desk

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