Renewable energy accounted for 83% of new power capacity added in 2022

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A man walks on a pier on Karampuang Island whose electricity relies on solar power plants, in West Sulawesi, Indonesia, Thursday, Dec. 22, 2022. While Indonesia has vast renewable and green energy potential from solar, wind, geothermal and other sources, experts warn that the vast archipelago nation faces unique financial, policy, infrastructure and other challenges that will require innovation. (AP Photo/Dita Alangkara) Dita Alangkara/AP

Renewable energy accounted for 83% of new power capacity added in 2022

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Global renewable energy capacity increased by 9.6% in 2022, a new report found, as more countries sought to diversify their energy mixes due to the crisis caused by Russia’s war in Ukraine.

Renewable energy sources accounted for roughly 83% of new power capacity added last year, the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) said Tuesday in its annual “Renewable Capacity Statistics” report.

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By the end of 2022, renewable capacity alone amounted to 3,372 gigawatts — or a 295 GW increase from the previous year.

While the report showed less reliance on fossil fuel power generation, the researchers also said that significant further progress is needed if there is hope to limit temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels — or the target in the 2015 Paris climate accord. That threshold is considered crucial to avoid irrevocable damage caused by global warming.

In order to meet that threshold, the IRENA report said, annual additions of renewable power capacity must increase by three times their current rate by 2030.

“This continued record growth shows the resilience of renewable energy amidst the lingering energy crisis,” IRENA Director-General Francesco La Camera said in a statement accompanying the report’s release. “The strong business case of renewables coupled with enabling policies has sustained an upward trend of their share in the global energy mix year on year.”

The report found that solar and wind energy continued to dominate new renewable capacity in 2022, accounting for a combined 90% of all renewable generation capacity added last year.

Most growth was concentrated in several regions: Asia, the U.S., and Europe.

Asia, for its part, accounted for nearly half of all new renewables added in 2022, while Europe and the U.S. saw increases of 57.3 GW and 29.1 GW, respectively.

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And while China was the single largest national contributor of renewables last year, adding 141 GW of renewable energy, the Middle East saw the highest year-on-year spike in renewables growth, commissioning 3.2 GW of new capacity, or an increase of 12.8% from 2021.

The report comes on the heels of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change synthesis report, which said that fossil fuel emissions must be halved by the mid-2030s.

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