Here’s a headline for you: The world is set to add as much renewable power in the next 5 years as it did in the past 20.
Maybe you didn’t see that coming. Well, Amory Lovins, among others, saw it coming. I heard him speak at a conference in New York City in the fall of 2009 and he said then: “The Renewable Revolution has been won. Sorry, if you missed it.”
The chart above is an indication of the growth over the recent past and projects to 2027.
The International Energy Agency (IEA) issued its Renewables 2022 report last week. We are accelerating growth in renewables globally because:
- It’s going to help us save the climate system.
- Renewables are the ultimate hedge against the vicious, cynical geopolitics of the fossil fuel special interests.
- Lifting those economies in energy poverty out of that state with renewables boosts well being for billions of people.
- Minimizing the financial and environmental burdens of fossil fuels is good for everyone’s economic and social health.
- All of the above.
If you picked “5” you’re on the money.
The IEA report attributes the latest dramatic upward turn in the projections for renewables’ penetration, in large part, to the Russian invasion of Ukraine. This is particularly true for Europe. Growth in capacity in “the 2022-27 period is forecast to be twice as high as in the previous five-year period.” And that’s not confined to just Europe. Since only last year’s IEA report, the projections have jumped even more for China than for Europe. See the chart below.
For the US, as anywhere, policy is the main driver. The Inflation Reduction Act here, which went live this summer, is already generating huge dividends. As you can see in the chart above, the US is upping the ante by more than 20% for the next five years.
Even without the IRA, the US DOE’s Energy Information Agency projects that this year renewables will have provided 22% of power generation, up from 10% in 2010 – and going to 24% in 2023. The biggest jump over the past decade has been in the Southwest Power Pool due primarily to wind, with renewables going from 13% in 2013 to 44% in 2022.
As The Beatles reminded us: It’s getting better all the time.
Here’s a quick look at the big picture from the International Energy Agency’s Renewables 2022 report.