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Mon Apr 6, 2020, 08:34 PM

New renewable energy capacity hit record levels in 2019

Source: The Guardian

New renewable energy capacity hit record levels in 2019

Most new electricity globally was green and coronavirus bailouts must boost this further, says agency

Damian Carrington Environment editor
@dpcarrington
Mon 6 Apr 2020 16.41 BST
Last modified on Mon 6 Apr 2020 17.05 BST

Almost three-quarters of new electricity generation capacity built in 2019 uses renewable energy, representing an all-time record. New data from the International Renewable Energy Agency (Irena) shows solar, wind and other green technologies now provide more than one-third of the world’s power, marking another record.

Fossil fuel power plants are in decline in Europe and the US, with more decommissioned than built in 2019. But the number of coal and gas plants grew in Asia, the Middle East and Africa. In the Middle East, which owns half the world’s oil reserves, just 26% of new electricity generation capacity built in 2019 was renewable.

The world has invested about $3tn in renewables over the past decade, according to Irena, but annual investments must double by 2030 to tackle the climate emergency.

“While the trajectory is positive, more is required to put global energy on a path with sustainable development and climate mitigation,” said Francesco La Camera, director general of Irena. “At this challenging time, we are reminded of the importance of building resilience into our economies.”

La Camera said the huge spending planned by governments in response to the coronavirus pandemic must support green initiatives rather than fossil fuels. “In responding to today’s crisis, governments may be tempted to focus on short-term solutions,” he said. “Yet distinctions between short-, medium- and long-term challenges may be deceptive. The pandemic shows that delayed action brings significant economic consequences.”

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Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2020/apr/06/new-renewable-energy-capacity-hit-record-levels-in-2019

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