Wind turbines in Jiangxi, China. (Photo: Unsplash)
The green energy continues to expand, with the International Energy Agency (IEA) reporting a significant 50% growth in global renewable energy in 2023 compared to the previous year. This growth added 510 GW, marking the fastest increase in two decades, bringing the total installed capacity to 3,700 GW. Solar energy saw the highest increase, constituting three-quarters of the overall growth, with China being the largest contributing country.
According to the IEA's annual report, China's newly added solar photovoltaic capacity in 2023 was equivalent to the global scale in 2022. Additionally, China's wind power installed capacity witnessed a 66% annual growth. Europe, the United States, and Brazil also achieved historically high increases in renewable energy capacity.
IEA Executive Director Fatih Birol, in an interview with the Financial Times, expressed enthusiasm about the progress but emphasized the importance of growth in emerging markets and developing countries, especially in Africa, Latin America, and other Asian nations.
During the United Nations Climate Summit (COP28) in 2023, nearly 200 countries committed to work together to triple renewable energy generation by 2030, requiring an addition of at least 11,000 GW. The report highlighted the greatest challenge lies in how emerging and developing countries expand the deployment and financing of renewable energy, particularly as inflation and rising interest rates have pushed up the costs of renewable energy equipment and financing over the past year.
IEA forecasts a flourishing development of renewable energy in the next five years, surpassing coal-fired power generation by 2025 to become the world's largest source of electricity. Dave Jones, the program director at the UK energy think-tank Ember, noted that fossil fuel consumption might peak within the next decade, conflicting with substantial investments in the oil and gas industry and potentially causing a supply-demand imbalance.