Renewables account for 72% of 2019's new energy additions

The growth of renewable energy is insufficient to meet global climate targets, according to the International Renewable Energy Association (Irena).

58.8GW of wind power capacity was added last year, according to Irena (pic credit: GE)
58.8GW of wind power capacity was added last year, according to Irena (pic credit: GE)

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Roughly 176GW of new renewable energy capacity was added last year, accounting for 72% of global power growth. 

Wind (58.8GW) and solar (97.7GW) accounted for about 90% of the new renewable energy capacity added in 2019, according to Irena's 'Renewable Capacity Statistics 2020' report.

However, renewable energy growth slowed in 2019, with the combined capacity increasing by 7.4% from the previous year — down half a percentage point.

Despite the expansion of renewable energy outpacing fossil fuels, Irena director-general Francesco La Camera said, “more is required to put global energy on a path with sustainable development and climate mitigation”.

Irena previously argued 7.7TW of renewable capacity would be needed by 2030 if the world is to limit global warming to "well below" 2C above pre-industrial levels, in line with the Paris Climate Agreement.

By the end of 2019, cumulative renewables capacity reached just over 2.5TW.

The two largest wind power markets, China and the US, installed the most capacity in 2019, adding 25.8GW and 9.1GW respectively.

Regional growth

Asia dominated renewable energy growth last year, accounting for 54% of new additions. 

Renewables accounted for at least 70% of total capacity expansion in most regions, with the only exceptions being Africa (52%) and the Middle East (26%).

Last year’s additions took renewables’ share of global power capacity to 34.7% by the end of 2019, up 1.4 percentage points from a year ago.

There was a net growth of non-renewable energy capacity in Africa, the Middle East and Asia, while there was a net reduction of non-renewables in Europe and North America.

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