Given the toll that fossil fuels, gas, and coal take on the environment, it's inspiring to see the world become increasingly open to clean energy sources, such as wind and solar power. According to a report by the International Energy Agency (IEA), renewable energy will surpass coal as a source of global electricity by 2025. On top of that, the world will increase its renewable power capacity by 75% over the next five years.
Switching to clean energy sources is key to limiting global warming to 1.5 °C, the goal set by the Paris Agreement to substantially reduce the effects of climate change. Although protecting the environment is a top priority, the momentum renewable energy sources are experiencing has more to do with other factors. According to the IEA, the two major drivers for global renewable energy adoption are low prices and security.
“First, high fossil fuel and electricity prices resulting from the global energy crisis have made renewable power technologies much more economically attractive, and second, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has caused fossil fuel importers, especially in Europe, to increasingly value the energy security benefits of renewable energy,” the IEA notes in its report.
Despite its causes, the things it has spurred paint a positive outlook. By 2027, global renewable capacity would represent an amount equal to the current power capacity of China, according to the report. Thanks to the latest developments and investments made by governments, the growth projections are 30% more than was expected last year.
Solar power has the most potential of it all, and it alone will surpass natural gas by 2026 and coal by 2027. It accounts for over 60% of all forecast renewable capacity expansion, and breaks new records every year. Together, renewable sources are set to account for over 90% of global electricity expansion over the next five years.
“Renewables were already expanding quickly, but the global energy crisis has kicked them into an extraordinary new phase of even faster growth as countries seek to capitalize on their energy security benefits. The world is set to add as much renewable power in the next 5 years as it did in the previous 20 years,” said IEA Executive Director Fatih Birol in a statement. “This is a clear example of how the current energy crisis can be a historic turning point towards a cleaner and more secure energy system.”