Green energy boost key to economy recovery, says IEA

Faster wind power deployment needs to underpin governments’ plans if the global economy is to recover sustainably, according to the International Energy Agency (IEA).

A sustainable recovery from the coronavirus pandemic could include 390GW of wind and solar PV capacity installed worldwide between 2021 and 2023 (pic credit: Siemens Gamesa)
A sustainable recovery from the coronavirus pandemic could include 390GW of wind and solar PV capacity installed worldwide between 2021 and 2023 (pic credit: Siemens Gamesa)

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Accelerating the deployment of low-carbon electricity sources such as wind and solar, in conjunction with upgrading electricity grids, forms one of six priority areas identified by the agency in its Sustainable Recovery Plan.

The IEA explained that the world has a “once-in-a-lifetime opportunity” to boost economic and jobs growth while promoting the shift to a cleaner energy future in the report. 

Renewable energy has grown significantly in recent years, but investment in new and repowered wind installations needs more support through government policies, the agency said. 

Achieving the changes outlined in the report — which also include low-carbon transport, energy efficiency and technology innovation — would cost about $1 trillion annually over the next three years, the IEA estimated. This represents 0.7% of today’s global GDP. 

About $180 billion should be spent on new wind and solar energy deployment, the agency recommends. This would produce an additional 390GW of installed capacity worldwide over the 2021-23 period on top of what would be installed under business-as-usual estimates.

According to forecasts by Windpower Intelligence, the research arm of Windpower Monthly, operational wind power capacity is estimated to grow globally by around 185GW in the 2020-22 period.

Meeting the $1 trillion annual investments necessary to recover from the coronavirus pandemic in a sustainable way appears a big ask — especially after the IEA warned of a drop in clean energy spending due to the impact of the Covid-19 crisis last month.

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