Global renewable energy set to break records by the end of 2021

The Eco Experts

A new report from the International Energy Agency has revealed that the renewable energy sector is on track to break yet another record in 2021 – generating almost 290 gigawatts (GW) of new renewable power in one year.

This green energy growth has mostly been driven by increased investment in solar power, which accounted for more than half of all renewable power expansion in 2021 (followed by wind, and hydropower).

Overall, renewable electricity generation is forecast to increase 6% year on year, potentially reaching over 7,900 Terawatt-hour (TWh) by the end of 2021. Just how much energy is this? Well for context, the UK consumes roughly 287 TWh of electricity each year.

Compared to 2020, global renewable generation is up 3% – and this trend is only set to increase.

“This year’s record renewable energy additions are yet another sign that a new global energy economy is emerging. The high commodity and energy prices we are seeing today pose new challenges for the renewable industry, but elevated fossil fuel prices also make renewables even more competitive.” – Fatih Birol, executive director of the IEA
Wind turbines in countryside

Which countries are generating the most renewable energy?

Whilst most countries are increasing the amount of renewable energy they’re using, only ten countries account for roughly 80% of all renewable capacity growth over the period 2021-2026.

China alone will provide almost 45% of all renewables expansion in the IEA’s forecast for the next five years, followed by the US, India, and Germany.

What about the future?

Renewables are forecasted to continue growing rapidly over the next five years, accounting for almost 95% of the increase in global energy capacity by 2026.

Taking the COP26 climate targets into account, the IEA also estimates that global renewable electricity capacity will increase by over 60% between 2020 and 2026, reaching more than 4,800 GW.

This is equivalent to the current global power capacity of fossil fuels and nuclear combined.

The report also predicts that China will continue being the leader in renewables over the next five years, accounting for 43% of global renewable capacity growth, followed by Europe, the United States and India. These four markets alone account for 80% of renewable capacity expansion worldwide.


The energy market is transforming – and fast.

As fossil fuels become more expensive – which has recently triggered the energy crisis in many European countries – renewable energy will gradually get even more popular around the world.

And with the world’s finite fossil fuels quickly running out, turning our energy sector into a renewable system will benefit us all, as well as the planet.

Written by:
Beth has been writing about green tech, the environment, and climate change for over three years now – with her work being featured in publications such as The BBC, Forbes, The Express, Greenpeace, and in multiple academic journals. Whether you're after a new set of solar panels, energy-saving tips, or advice on how to reduce your carbon footprint, she's got you covered.
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