By Nina Chestney
LONDON (Reuters) - Global additions of renewable power capacity are expected to rise by a third this year, the International Energy Agency (IEA) said on Thursday, as stronger government policies and energy security concerns drive more clean energy deployment.
In its Renewable Energy Market update report, the IEA said additions of renewable capacity worldwide are set to jump by 107 gigawatts (GW), the largest absolute increase ever, to more than 440 GW in 2023.
Next year, total global renewable electricity capacity is expected to rise to 4,500 GW, equivalent to the total power output of China and the U.S. combined.
"Solar and wind are leading the rapid expansion of the new global energy economy," IEA Executive Director Fatih Birol said.
"This year, the world is set to add a record-breaking amount of renewables to electricity systems – more than the total power capacity of Germany and Spain combined."
In Europe, the growth of renewable energy is at the heart of the bloc's response to the energy crisis in the wake of the Ukraine war. New policy measures are also helping to drive significant capacity increases in the U.S. and India over the next two years.
China is also expected to account for nearly 55% of global additions of renewable power capacity in both 2023 and 2024, the IEA said.
Solar photovoltaic (PV) capacity additions will account for two-thirds of this year’s increase, and are expected to keep growing in 2024. High electricity prices have been driving the faster growth of rooftop solar PV, the report said.
Wind power capacity additions are forecast to grow by almost 70% in 2023 year-on-year due to the completion of projects that had been delayed by COVID restrictions in China and by supply chain issues in the U.S and Europe.
However, further growth in 2024 will depend on whether governments can provide greater policy support to address challenges in terms of permitting and the design of capacity auctions, the report added.
Even though the competitiveness of wind and solar PV has improved since last year, renewable energy auctions were under-subscribed by a record 16% in 2022.
More investment in upgrading grids to integrate higher volumes of renewables in power systems is also needed.
(Reporting by Nina Chestney; Editing by Jan Harvey)