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Renewable energy capacity hits record high, reports IEA

Countries in the MENA region have also hit record highs in 2023.

Renewable energy capacity hits record high, reports IEA
[Source photo: Anvita Gupta/Fast Company Middle East]

Renewable energy capacity worldwide has increased by 50% in 2023, aligning with the goals of the Paris Climate Agreement to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius. This substantial growth also brings the global capacity close to meeting the aim of tripling it by 2030.

This information is sourced from analysts at the International Energy Agency (IEA) in their annual energy market report. The report highlights that renewable reserves reached almost 510 gigawatts (GW) last year, a notable increase from 340 GW in 2022.

China played a pivotal role in driving the growth of renewables in 2023, commissioning as much solar PV capacity as the world did in 2022. Additionally, China’s wind power capacity witnessed a remarkable year-on-year increase of 66%.

Fatih Birol, IEA Executive Director, points out that renewable capacity has achieved record highs in Europe, the US, and Brazil. Furthermore, it has started to gain momentum in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region.

In the MENA region, the expansion of renewable energy capacity is projected to increase more than three times faster in the next five years than it did between 2018 and 2022. Notably, solar PV constitutes 85% of this expansion.

Seven countries are at the forefront, contributing to over 90% of the region’s growth. Saudi Arabia leads with more than a third, followed by the UAE, Morocco, Oman, Egypt, Israel, and Jordan.

“Onshore wind and solar PV are cheaper today than new fossil fuel plants almost everywhere and cheaper than existing fossil fuel plants in most countries,” shares Birol.

The IEA anticipates that global renewable power capacity will reach 7,300 GW by 2028, primarily driven by solar PV and wind power, accounting for 95% of the increase. However, the report also indicates that only 7% of announced clean hydrogen projects are expected to be operational by 2030.

Notably, at COP28 in Dubai, nearly 200 countries committed to tripling renewables capacity by 2030.

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