6 months ago • 2 mins
What’s going on here?
The International Energy Agency (IEA) predicted that this year will be a bright one for renewable energy.
What does this mean?
Pandemic-induced supply chain headaches put the brakes on renewables for a while – but now it’s full steam ahead once again, thanks to a little nudge from high oil and gas prices and some serious energy security concerns. That means the IEA thinks global renewable energy capacity will swell by a third in 2023: that amounts to the biggest yearly boost we’ve ever seen, equivalent to the power capacity of Germany and Spain combined. And while this is a concerted worldwide effort, China will keep leading the pack – driven in part by its promotion of massive solar projects.
Why should I care?
Zooming in: Working but winded.
If the world keeps up this pace, we could have enough solar manufacturing capacity to meet the IEA’s net-zero emissions scenario come 2050. But it won’t be a cakewalk either: after all, infrastructure is lagging at the moment, meaning that government support will be crucial to keep things on track. Plus, investors are paying a lot of attention to profitability right now, and that’s got companies like Shell re-evaluating underperforming green assets – even ones that might have potential in the long run. The bottom line, then: we’re still not shifting to renewables fast enough, especially with scientists warning that the Earth’s past certain safe limits for human health.
The bigger picture: Equalizing energy.
Trade and geopolitics could change drastically in a world powered mainly by renewables. See, renewable energy sources like solar and wind are more evenly spread across the globe than oil and gas – and that could leave countries sitting atop black gold with less room to throw their weight around. In theory, then, more of our energy would be produced closer to home, balancing power and reducing the need to ship nations’ resources across the world.
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