Renewable energy capacity to expand 50% by 2024
Global supplies of renewable energy will expand by 50% over the next five years, an increase equivalent to the entire power capacity of the US, the International Energy Agency (IEA) has forecast.
In a report released today, the IEA said that cost reductions and concerted government policy would see renewable-based power capacity grow by 1,200 gigawats between 2019 and 2024.
Solar photovoltaic (PV) is expected to account for 60% of the rise, with the share of renewables in global power generation growing from 26% today to 30% in 2024.
However, the researchers said this is still “well below” what is needed to meet global sustainable energy targets, and comes after renewable capacity additions stalled last year for the first time in two decades.
“As costs continue to fall, we have a growing incentive to ramp up the deployment of solar PV,” said Dr Fatih Birol, IEA executive director.
“Renewables are already the world's second largest source of electricity, but their deployment still needs to accelerate if we are to achieve long-term climate, air quality and energy access goals."
Policy and regulatory uncertainty, high investment risks, and system integration of wind and solar PV are the three main challenges that must be overcome to speed up the deployment of renewables, according to the report.
It forecasts distributed PV to account for almost half of growth in the overall solar PV market through to 2024, with commercial and industrial applications responsible for three-quarters of new installations.
The number of solar rooftop systems on homes is set to more than double to around 100 million by 2024, with the top markets on a per capita basis that year forecast to be Australia, Belgium, California, the Netherlands and Austria.
The IEA also forecasts the cost of generating electricity from solar PV to decline by up to 35% by 2024, making the technology more attractive and spurring adoption worldwide.
However, unmanaged growth could disrupt electricity markets by raising system costs, challenging the grid integration of renewables and reducing the revenues of network operators.
“Distributed PV’s potential is breathtaking, but its development needs to be well managed to balance the different interests of PV system owners, other consumers and energy and distribution companies,” Dr Birol said.
“The IEA is ready to advise governments on what is needed to take full advantage of this rapidly emerging technology without jeopardising electricity security.”
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Chris Seekings is a reporter for TRANSFORM