Renewable energy capacity worldwide grew at a record rate in 2022, with nearly 295 GW added and renewables providing an “unprecedented” 83% of new energy worldwide, says a March 21 report from the International Renewable Energy Agency.
Global renewable generation capacity stood at 3,372 GW by the end of the year.
IRENA, a treaty organization with 166 members, said the increase was due largely to the growth of solar and wind power with the decommissioning of fossil fuel plants in several large economies. New solar installations accounted for 192 GW of the 295 GW added.
“This continued record growth shows the resilience of renewable energy amidst the lingering energy crisis,” IRENA’s Director-General Francesco La Camera said in a press release. “But annual additions of renewable power capacity must grow three times the current level by 2030 if we want to stay on a pathway limiting global warming to 1.5°C.”
The addition of 295 GW increased global renewables capacity by 9.6%, IRENA says. The organization found significant growth of renewables is concentrated in Asia, the U.S. and Europe, with almost half of the new capacity added in 2022 in Asia – in particular China, which added 141 GW.
Despite strong overall growth, wind installation has slowed, with 75 GW of wind added globally in 2022 versus the 111 GW added in 2020.
In a foreword to IRENA’s report, La Camera wrote about the importance of modernizing the energy grid as renewable energy gets closer to accounting for half of total global energy capacity.
“Many energy planning questions must be addressed to establish renewables as the most significant source of electricity generation - including in the context of grid flexibility and adaptation to variable renewable power,” he said.