Renewable Energy, which is obtained from renewable sources that are naturally replenished on a human timescale, is central to the global transition to cleaner fuels. The implementation of these renewable energy sources is also extremely important to fight the climate crisis. Consequently, private and public sectors all over the world are expressing support and taking the right actions toward more renewable sources for individual and business energy consumers.
Last year, we shared a blog showcasing the 5 countries leading the installation and use of renewable energy sources in 2020. With the latest numbers from the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), we are continuing to recognise frontrunners in the global Energy Transition feat. Keep reading to explore the latest developments from these five (5) frontrunners!
Just like last year, the list starts with China as the main frontrunner for Renewable Energy generation capacity. They surpassed the million mark last year at 1,020,234 MW capacity, a 13.4% increase from 899,625 recorded in 2020.The increase in capacity is likely to be driven by stronger policy support and strong targets, which were introduced during the COP26 climate talks last November. It was mentioned that up to 2026, they expect to reach more than 4,800GW renewable energy capacity. (South China Morning Post, 2022)
Sixty percent of new capacity in 2021 was accounted for by Asia, increasing its renewable capacity by 154.7 GW to reach 1.46 TW (48% of the global total). A greater part of this increase occurred in China which increased by 121 GW. (Irena 2022)
Let's take a look at how this total capacity is broken down into the different types of renewables and how they fare compared to last year.
As can be seen in the pie chart, Solar, Wind, and Hydropower are the main renewable energy sources in China. The country’s effort to increase capacity for Wind and Solar can be seen through its growth of 16.6% and 20.8%, respectively. The Chinese government is organising to generate 450GW of renewable capacity (both solar and wind) in deserts. These plans are part of the strategy aiming to increase the country’s total wind and solar capacity to at least 1,200GW.
As of November, China’s central bank—The People’s Bank of China (PBOC)—has a new lending facility offering cheap funding to banks to subsidise lending to green projects: including renewable energy, energy-saving, and carbon reduction technologies. (South China Morning Post, 2022) This will likely lead to new possibilities to increase the capacity for the upcoming years.
Second on the list is, just as last year, the USA. Domestic production and consumption of renewables are the highest recorded and this can be directly seen through the numbers in the graph above “Total Renewable Generation Capacity (in MW)” where the total renewable generation capacity grew (+11%), from 292,949 in 2020 to 325,391 in 2021.
As of March 29, Wind energy became the second-largest source of power generation in the USA for over a 24 hour period, surpassing coal and nuclear. This has been possible after two strong years of wind installations. As of 2021, Wind energy capacity was at 13.9 GW which is now being turned into electricity. Seven out of ten best days since 2018 for wind power generation happened in the first three months of this year! (Benjamin Storrow, Scientific America, 2022)
Big companies are taking initiative and responsibility: In the US, Apple is planning on investing in a large-scale solar project in Texas, which will generate approximately 300MW of electricity upon completion. (Apple, 2022)
Brazil, while ranking only third in renewable energy installed capacity at almost 160 GW (up 6.5%), prides itself of having the highest percentage share (48.3%) of renewable electricity to total electricity generated (Empresa de Pesquisa Energética, 2021).
Hydropower remains the top renewable energy in Brazil, comprising 68,4% of total capacity generated. Hydropower closed at 109,426 MW, which remained almost unchanged from the previous year.
Wind, which grew 23% from the previous year, is expected to continue growing. Efforts from both the government as well as private sector, with companies such as Shell and Enel, are likely to help increase the country’s wind energy capacity in the upcoming years. Shell is seeking environmental permits to build offshore wind farms along the Brazilian coast. This plan is composed of six projects, and has a total 17 GW of capacity. (Bloomberg, 2022)
Enel is pushing to increase its growth in renewable energy in Brazil with investments in onshore solar and wind generation plants. Last year, Enel announced that between 2022-2024, they would be investing 9.8 billion euros in Latin America, where half of this amount would go to Brazil alone. (Reuters, 2022)
India closed the year with a 29.5% increase, closing 2021 at 147,122 MW renewable energy capacity.
India’s government has ambitious renewable energy targets. Their efforts can be demonstrated through their continuous increase in solar renewable energy capacity, which grew 26% from last year.
Renewable generations capacity will likely continue to increase in the upcoming years, the government plans to raise $3.3 Billion through green bonds to fuel its ambitious renewable energy targets. Moreover, India is arranging a $2.5 billion auction for solar manufacturing incentives, starting a new tender to allocate subsidies for willing companies to set up solar cells and modules. (Cleantechnia, 2022)
Germany maintained its 5th spot in the ranking, just as last year. This year Germany’s renewable capacity increased by 4.8%, similar to the five percent growth of last year.
As can be seen in the pie chart, most of the country’s renewable energy comes from wind energy and solar energy. Hydropower decreased by -1.2%, while wind and bioenergy had a very slow but steady growth +2.5% and +1% respectively. Solar grew by +8.8% and it is expected to continue growing in the coming years.
Germany’s new government has released a 500-page reform proposal called the “Easter Package”, which tackles the climate crisis, and also helps in the country’s efforts to achieve energy independence. (Clean Energy Wire, 2022)
This article is written by Martina Cavelier, TechnologyCatalogue.com Marketing Coordinator.
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