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Global renewables capacity beats previous records as it jumps by over 260GW - IRENA

Image: IRENA.

Image: IRENA.

Over 260GW of renewable energy capacity was added worldwide in 2020, beating the previous record set in 2019 by almost 50%.

At the end of the year, global renewable generation capacity stood at 2,799GW according to data released by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA). While hydropower took home the largest share (1,211GW), solar and wind dominated capacity expansion during the year with 127GW and 11GW of new installations respectively.

Together, the two technologies accounted for 91% of new renewables, with renewables as a whole accounting for over 80% of all new electricity capacity added in 2020.

This is partly attributable to net decommissioning of fossil fuel power generation in Europe, North America and for the first time Eurasia (Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Russian Federation and Turkey).

Total fossil fuel additions dropped to 60GW in 2020 compared to 64GW the previous year.

When it comes to the UK specifically, the country had 47,676MW of renewable capacity in 2020, up from 46,800MW in 2019.

Europe, meanwhile, had 609GW of renewable capacity at the end of 2020, a jump of 35.3GW on the year before. This represents 6% growth and 22% of the global share.

IRENA director-general Francesco La Camera said the figures tell a "remarkable story of resilience and hope", with renewable energy having emerged as a source of "undeniable optimism for a better, more equitable, resilient, clean and just future" despite the uncertainty of 2020.


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