COVID-19 to hurt but not halt renewable energy growth says IEA

  • COVID-19 to hurt but not halt renewable energy growth says IEA

COVID-19 to hurt but not halt renewable energy growth says IEA

In the agency's Renewable Market Update report, it shows that globally there will be 167GW of renewable power capacity added in 2020, a 13% drop from 2019.

Recovery will be slower in more mature markets such as Europe, however, as global growth for 2020 and 2021 combined is expected to be 10 percent under the IEA's previous forecast.

This comes as Australia says its Covid-19 recovery plans will focus on supporting fossil fuel investment and infrastructure, and as key regulatory bodies announce delays to new rules and regulations that could remove barriers to new renewable and other smart technologies.

For solar, which accounts for more than half of the renewable expansion globally in 2020 and 2021, additions are expected to decline from 110GW in 2019 to just over 90GW in 2020.

Nearly all mature clean energy markets are being impacted by the coronavirus downturn apart from the United States, where developers are rushing to get projects completed before federal tax credits expire.

"Putting emissions into a structural decline needed renewables to grow much faster across all sectors even before the COVID-19 crisis", the report said.

The UK government has promised to move ahead with an auction for renewable energy subsidy contracts next spring which will include bids from onshore wind and solar projects for the first time since the government lifted a block on financial support put in place four years ago.

Large-scale PV projects are expected to rebound in 2021, but overall installations are unlikely to surpass 2019 levels, IEA said.

Onshore wind installations have slowed down this year, but should be mostly compensated for in 2021, as the majority of projects are already financed and under construction. However, uncertainty remains over projects that had planned to secure their financing this year and become operational next year. But the impact of the Covid-19 crisis is likely to be limited for offshore wind, as such projects have longer construction periods, it explained. "But continuing cost declines will not be enough to protect renewables from a range of uncertainties that are being exacerbated by COVID-19", said Dr Birol. None of the forecasts could anticipate the coronavirus pandemic and the extent of its impact on the world. Successful transitions to clean energy will require decarbonising the rest of the economy as well, including transport fuels and the heating of buildings.

Overall, for 2020, diesel consumption is expected to fall by 2 million barrels a day, or by 7%, the report said.

The IEA also expects renewables fuels to lose its competitiveness to fossil fuels, given the low oil and gas prices.

The experts had at different fora lamented the huge cost associated with renewable energy components which are about 100 per cent imported into the country, thus increasing the cost of access to power through renewable.