Global wind fleet to grow 62% by 2024 -- IEA

Global renewables capacity is set to increase by nearly 50% in the five years to 2024, but this projected 1.2TW expansion could be more than 300GW higher with improved government intervention, according to a new International Energy Agency (IEA) report.

Wind power is expected to play a key role in the IEA’s main case forecast, accounting for 24% of the world’s renewable energy capacity by 2024 (pic credit: SGRE)
Wind power is expected to play a key role in the IEA’s main case forecast, accounting for 24% of the world’s renewable energy capacity by 2024 (pic credit: SGRE)

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The IEA forecast 1.22TW of new renewable energy capacity being installed worldwide between 2020 and 2024, including 351GW of new wind capacity, while offshore wind almost triples in capacity.

Total wind power capacity is expected to grow 62% in the IEA’s main case scenario.

Overall, the IEA predicted the world’s renewable energy fleet to grow from 2.5TW at the end of 2018 to 3.72TW by the end of 2024.

Cost reductions and policy improvements in key markets for wind power and solar PV prompted the IEA to revise their main case scenario upwards by more than 14% from last year’s report.

But this growth could be even greater if governments tackle policy and regulatory uncertainty, investment risks in developing markets and system integration issues in some countries, the analysts said.

New renewables additions through to 2024 could be 26% higher, with wind power installations 8% higher, than in its baseline scenario with government support. 

This could mean wind could grow by 431GW, while renewable additions could be as much as 1.54TW if properly backed. 

In the IEA’s accelerated forecast, governments around the world create greater policy and regulatory certainty for developers, de-risk investment in developing economies, and facilitate the system integration of wind and solar PV.

Higher auction frequency and quicker project development across all regions could be especially beneficial for solar PV and wind power expansion, the IEA explained.

Speaking to the press, the IEA’s executive director Fatih Birol said: "Today, governments’ actions and enacted policies are far from reaching our climate targets.

"There is a growing disconnect between government targets, discussions at climate, reports and summits, and what is happening in real life.

"There is a need to make use of all the clean energy technology. We don’t have the option of picking just one or two."

Onshore

While all renewable energy sources’ capacities increase, wind power plays a key role in the IEA’s main case forecast, accounting for 24% of the world’s renewable energy capacity by 2024, and 23% of all renewable energy generation by that date.

Renewable energy’s combined share of global power generation is expected to rise from 26% today to 30% by 2024.

The world’s onshore wind fleet is due to grow 57% to 850GW by 2024 in the IEA’s main case scenario.

Annual installations will peak at 60GW in 2020 due to the phase-out of federal support in the US and transition to an auction system in China prompting a development rush.

However, growth will fall to 50GW a year between 2021 and 2024 in line with two largest onshore wind markets slowing. 

Meanwhile, expansion will continue in Europe as auctions keep costs low, while scheduled tenders in Latin America, the Middle East and North Africa and Eurasia will ensure strong growth, the IEA forecast.

It cites grid integration, access to financing, and social acceptance as being the three key obstacles to faster roll-out of onshore wind.

Tackling these challenges could result in an additional 69GW of onshore wind installations, 431GW of cumulative additions for 996GW of total capacity by 2024.

Offshore

Meanwhile, offshore wind capacity is set to nearly triple to 66GW by 2024, the IEA predicted.

Europe will account for half of this growth, with record-low contract prices prompting expansion in the UK, Denmark, the Netherlands and Germany.

There will also be the first large-scale additions in waters off the US and Taiwan in the forecast period.

But China will lead deployment on a country-by-country basis, adding 12.5GW through projects procured under its feed-in tariff scheme.

With greater policy and regulatory certainty, more accessible project financing in developing markets and easier grid access, an additional 11GW of offshore wind capacity could be installed by 2024.

This would result in 55GW of cumulative additions by 2024, and 77GW of total capacity by the end of the forecast period.

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