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Global renewables capacity to grow 50% by 2024 on 'spectacular' solar: IEA

Highlights

1,200 GW of additions seen by 2024, equivalent to US capacity

Forecast rises on green energy push in EU, US

Solar the key technology driver, ahead of wind

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Global additions of renewable power capacity are set to rise 50% by 2024, with 1,200 GW installed over the next six years, the International Energy Agency said Monday.

The increase -- equivalent to the US's power generation capacity -- is being driven by cost reductions and climate change policy, the agency said in its Renewables 2019 report.

Solar accounts for 60% or almost 700 GW of the forecast additions as the global PV market is set for "spectacular growth", the report said.

Wind capacity is set to increase by 352 GW over the period, of which 44 GW would be offshore, it said.

The IEA's 2019 renewables outlook is 14% higher than its 2018 outlook for the six years to 2023, with Europe and the US accounting for half the gains.

For the European Union, the forecast has been lifted by 46% to reflect more ambitious energy plans and auction schedules, with 180 GW new renewables capacity predicted for 2019-2024.

The acceleration comes after renewable capacity additions in Europe stalled last year for the first time in almost two decades.

For 2019 the IEA predicts a 12% increase for the region, the biggest since 2015, with almost 200 GW of new capacity to be added led by solar (113 GW) and wind (57 GW), the IEA already said in September.

"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," IEA executive director Fatih Birol said.

The share of renewables in global power generation is set to rise from 26% today to 30% in 2024, it said although wind and solar would still only generate some 3,300 TWh of the total expected 8,800 TWh of renewables generation in 2024 to be led by hydro.

S&P Global Platts Analytics has a more conservative outlook for renewables growth with solar additions set to average 100-105 GW/year, while annual wind additions are seen around 51 GW over the period to 2025.

"Policy uncertainties in China and India, the scheduled phase-out of US federal tax incentives and constraints for onshore wind in mature markets such as Germany are among key bearish drivers," Platts Analytics head of global power planning Bruno Brunetti said.

"Costs declines are a factor that will spur further growth of solar PV additions, especially as solar PV module prices are currently some 20% down year-on-year," Brunetti added.

Global RES capacity by technology/region (GW)

Technology 2018 2019 2020 2021 2022 2023 2024
Wind 565 622 686 744 799 857 917
Onshore 543 595 654 704 753 802 851
Offshore 22 27 32 39 46 55 66
Solar 496 609 716 823 939 1064 1195
Utility 282 353 411 469 532 598 665
Distributed 208 253 299 347 399 457 520
Offgrid 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
CSP 6 6 7 8 9 9 9
Hydro 1290 1308 1337 1357 1373 1394 1411
Bioenergy 130 138 146 152 159 165 171
TOTAL 2501 2699 2907 3101 3296 3508 3721

Global RES capacity by region (GW)

Region 2018 2019 2020 2021 2022 2023 2024
China 730 804 890 967 1044 1132 1219
Europe 595 626 658 690 725 765 804
US 280 303 328 349 370 391 411
Subtotal 1605 1733 1876 2006 2139 2288 2434
TOTAL 2501 2699 2907 3101 3296 3508 3721

Source: IEA RES 2019

-- Andreas Franke, andreas.franke@spglobal.com

-- Edited by Alisdair Bowles, alisdair.bowles@spglobal.com