Renewable energy will improve energy security while reducing emissions, according to the International Energy Agency (IEA).
The IEA’s Renewable Energy Market Update said that the global energy crisis increased the urgency of the transition to renewable energy after the Russian invasion of Ukraine sent shock waves through energy markets.
According to the report, annual renewable capacity additions increased by 6 per cent to almost 295 GW in 2021. This was expected to increase another 8 per cent in 2022 to reach almost 320 GW.
Much of this growth will come from strong policy environments in China and the European Union which will contribute to a 60 per cent increase in the global renewable capacity of solar PV in 2022.
The increased growth in solar PV made up for a 32 per cent decline in onshore wind installations in 2021 which are forecast to slightly recover in 2022.
Offshore wind growth saw a 400 per cent increase over 2021, however this is forecast to decline in 2022 due to the national subsidy phase-out in China.
However, offshore wind capacity additions are still forecast to double compared to 2020 due to provincial incentives in China and expansions in the EU. China’s offshore wind capacity is expected to surpass the EU and United Kingdom combined by 2023.
It found that although solar PV and wind costs were expected to remain higher over the next few years compared to pre-pandemic levels, sharp increases in natural gas and coal prices meant its competitiveness still improved.
In Australia, the National Electricity Market reported a record high variable renewable energy production in Q1 2022.
The Quarterly Energy Dynamics report found that the record output was largely influenced by new capacity additions for solar and wind over 2021.
New South Wales saw the largest increase, followed by Victoria, Queensland, and South Australia. Tasmania saw the only decrease in generation in Australia, while Western Australia, Northern Territory, and the Australian Capital Territory were not listed.
IEA executive director Fatih Birol said that energy market developments in recent months proved the essential role of renewables in improving energy security and reducing emissions.
“Cutting red tape, accelerating permitting and providing the right incentives for faster deployment of renewables are some of the most important actions governments can take to address today’s energy security and market challenges, while keeping alive the possibility of reaching our international climate goals,” Mr Birol said.