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Global Renewable Energy Installed Capacity Rises 9.1% in 2021: IRENA

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Despite global uncertainties, renewable energy continued to grow in 2021, accounting for 81 per cent of the total capacity expansion, according the International Renewable Energy Agency.

The Renewable Capacity Statistics 2022 report reveals that the global renewable generation capacity reached 3,064 gigawatts, or 9.1 percent, by the end 2021.

Hydropower still held the largest percentage of total capacity at 1,230 GW. However, solar and wind continue their dominance of new generating capacity. With 19% and 13 percent respectively generating increases, solar and wind accounted for 88 percent of the new capacity in 2021.

“This is yet another sign of the resilience of renewable energy. The country’s continued strong performance in last year’s renewable energy transition provides more opportunities to reap the multiple socio-economic benefits. Francesco La Camera, Director General of IRENA, stated that despite the positive global trend, the energy transition is not fast enough or widespread enough to avert climate change’s dire consequences.

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“Our current energy crisis adds to the evidence that fossil fuels are no longer the only option for the world to meet its energy needs. The survival of a nation as well as the survival the planet depends on the money spent on fossil fuel power plants. Renewable power should be the new norm around the world. To accelerate the 1.5degC pathway, we must mobilize political will.

Renewables must grow faster than the energy demand to achieve climate goals. Despite increasing their use of renewable electricity, many countries are still not at this point.

The majority of the new generation of renewable capacity for 2021 was created in Asia. 60 percent of that new capacity came from Asia with 1.46 Terawatts (TW). China contributed 121 GW of new capacity to the continent.

Europe had the second largest increase in renewable capacity with 39 GW. North America, led by the US, was close behind, with 38 GW. South America was fourth in terms of capacity growth, with 15.5 GW.

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Africa’s renewable power grew by 3.9%, while Central America and Central America saw a 3.3 percent increase. The Middle East region saw a 4.5 percent increase, and a 1GW increase in renewable resources.

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