Record growth for renewables in 2022

Encouraging but still insufficient efforts. Renewable energies gained 9.6% more capacity worldwide in 2022, a record growth, the International Renewable Energy Agency (Irena) said on Tuesday. These levels nevertheless remain far from what is necessary to curb global warming.

Solar (mainly photovoltaic) and wind still take the lion’s share, with 90% of new constructions. However, Irena notes a slowdown in wind power compared to the two previous years (+9% in production capacity, +22% for solar).

In total volume, hydroelectricity remains – with 1,250 gigawatts (GW) and 37% of the total – the first of renewable energies, notes this report “Renewable Capacity Statistics 2023”. Solar represents 31% of the total and wind 27%. The total production capacity, all renewable sources combined, amounted to 3,372 GW at the end of 2022.

China main contributor

“This record and continuous growth shows the resilience of renewable energies” in a context of economic slowdown and energy crisis, commented the director general of Irena, Francesco La Camera. But “if we want to limit global warming to 1.5ºC compared to the pre-industrial era, we will have to triple, each year until 2030, the new renewable capacities”, he underlines.

“Knowing that energy demand is expected to increase in many parts of the world, the energy transition requires a radical strategic change, going beyond decarbonization on the supply side”, he pleads.

Asia is the geographic area that experienced the greatest growth in renewable installations last year. China was the main contributor, with 141 GW of new capacity, more than half of the world total (295 GW of new installations). Europe and North America gained 57.3 GW and 29.1 GW respectively. In Africa, the increase is limited to 2.7 GW. The Middle East saw the commissioning of 3.2 GW, an unprecedented growth however (+12.8%).

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