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IEA Predicts Record Year For Renewables In 2021


The International Energy Agency (IEA) has forecasted that renewable electricity generation will increase by more than 8 per cent to reach 8,300TWh in 2021.

Photovoltaic (PV) solar and wind are expected to contribute to two-thirds of the growth in renewables electricity generation, according to the IEA in its Global Energy Review 2021 report.

According to the IEA, China alone should account for almost half of the global increase in renewable electricity in 2021, followed by the US, EU and India.

Wind is set for the largest increase in renewable energy generation in 2021, with the IEA predicting it will grow by 275TWh, almost 17 per cent.

Rapid growth

According to the IEA, policy deadlines in China and the US resulted in developers completing a record amount of capacity in the fourth quarter of 2020, which led to a significant increase in generation in the first two months in 2021.

Over the remainder of 2021, China is expected to generate 600TWh from renewables, with the US set to generate 400TWh - which combined will represent more than half of global wind output.

The IEA expects PV solar generation to increase by 145 TWh globally, a growth of 18 per cent, to reach 1,000 TWh in 2021.

While the IEA expects China to remain the largest PV market, it states that the US will see significant expansion as a result of policy support at federal and state level. The IEA also sees a recovery in India's solar market, with PV solar capacity additions falling sharply in 2020 as a result of delays from the Covid-19 pandemic.

The IEA predicts increases in generation from PV solar in Brazil and Vietnam as a result of strong policy support for distributed PV applications.

Renewable energy use rose by 3 per cent in 2020, with demand for all other fuels declining as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic and a fall in global demand for energy. The primary driver was a 7 per cent growth in electricity generation from renewables sources.

The IEA states in its report that long-term contacts, priority access to the grid and the continuous installation of new clean energy plants led to a growth in renewables despite lower global electricity demand and supply chain challenges for projects.

As a result, the share of renewables in global electricity generation rose to 29 per cent in 2020, up from 27 per cent in 2019. Bioenergy use in industry grew by 3 per cent, but was largely offset by a drop in biofuels as a result in lower oil demand and a reduction in the use of blended biofuels.

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