Construction of solar farms, wind turbines, and other renewable energy sources will increase over the next five years as nations set tougher climate policies and more ambitious emissions targets.
The new renewable power capacity will set another record this year, 290 gigawatts, according to a new report from the International Energy Agency. That’s the equivalent of building about 300 nuclear reactors, or about 150 hover dams, and this is happening despite global supply chain problems, rising material costs and restrictions on wood.
By 2026, these carbon-free sources will increase global capacity by more than 60% from last year’s level, an intergovernmental research organization now projects. That would add about 4,800 gigawatts, equivalent to the world’s fossil fuel and nuclear plants today.
In addition, renewables will account for 95% of the total capacity growth in the power sector during this period.
The construction of new wind and solar plants does not necessarily mean that renewables are displacing fossil fuels – as energy demand continues to grow. And it remains to be seen how quickly carbon-free sources will become the world’s leading source of electricity and rapidly replace coal, natural gas and other pollutants.
While renewables are now largely responsible for building new capabilities, the level of power generation, depending on the source, can fluctuate considerably from year to year, depending on the cost of change, weather conditions and much more. But according to Bloomberg NEF, coal production has declined over the past few years and solar, hydro and wind have increased. In fact, those three sources Accounts for all developments Last year, power generation from coal, natural gas and nuclear plants declined.
The IEA’s renewable estimates for 2026 are substantially revised upwards, 40% higher than last year’s estimate. Among other things, the agency cited economic recovery, increased promises to reduce national emissions ahead of the recent UN climate conference, and domestic developments and policies.