Lowering bills, cutting carbon
12 May 2021
The International Energy Agency (IEA) – one of the world’s leading expert bodies when it comes to energy – has revised its forecasts for the growth of green energy by a whopping 25%, just six months after publishing its last figures.
It’s the latest in a well established trend of renewables confounding the expectations of the IEA and other experts. As this Unearthed article noted back in 2017, the IEA habitually low balls its expectations around the growth of green power.
The latest revisions to the IEA’s outlook forecast nearly 40% higher growth than it slated a year ago. And the underlying figures make breathtaking reading.
Renewables are expected to account for 90% of new power capacity expansion globally in 2021 and 2022. Solar will “continue to break records”, increasing at a rate almost 50% higher than the pre-pandemic level in 2019. And with additions to wind generation capacity having increased more than 90% last year, the US signalling Biden’s change of direction by approving its first major offshore windfarm, and the IEA’s pessimistic track record, you have to wonder whether its predicted slow down in wind energy growth for 2021 and 2022 will pan out. Even if it they’re right, that still puts wind growth rates 50% higher than the 2017-2019 average.
Growth forecasts are one of the factors investors consider when looking where to put their cash. The stratospheric rise of renewables – they were the only energy source for which demand increased in 2020 despite the pandemic – sends a double signal to financiers. First, the smart money is on renewables. And second, fossil fuels are turning into a money pit. With the world pivoting so rapidly towards low carbon energy sources, it’s looking less and less viable for investors to put new cash into these old, dirty fuels. That has to be good news for everyone.
Of course, if you don’t have millions of pounds to spare to invest in renewables, you can still make a difference by using your power as a consumer to demand more green energy. If you do have savings to spare, you could also look at investing them into community energy projects, helping to drive the growth of green energy closer to home.