Last year was the first time since 2001 that growth in renewable power capacity failed to increase year on year. New net capacity from solar PV, wind, hydro, bioenergy, and other renewable power sources increased by about 180 Gigawatts (GW) in 2018, the same as the previous year, according to the International Energy Agency’s latest data. That’s only around 60% of the net additions needed each year to meet long-term climate goals.
Renewables have a major role to play in curbing global emissions. Renewable capacity additions need to grow by over 300 GW on average each year between 2018 and 2030 to reach the goals of the Paris Agreement, according to the IEA’s Sustainable Development Scenario (SDS).
CO2 emissions rose
But the IEA’s analysis shows the world is not doing enough. Last year, energy-related CO2 emissions rose by 1.7% to a historic high of 33 Gigatonnes. Despite a growth of 7% in renewables electricity generation, emissions from the power sector grew to record levels.
“Governments need to act quickly to correct this situation and enable a faster flow of new projects,” said Dr Fatih Birol, the IEA’s Executive Director. “They mainly need stable policies supported by a long-term vision, but also a focus on integrating renewables into power systems in a cost-effective and optimal way. Stop-and-go policies are particularly harmful to markets and jobs.”