The world is set to build fewer renewable energy installations this year because of the impact of the COVID-19 crisis, marking the first annual decline in new additions in 20 years, according to the International Energy Agency (IEA) report on Wednesday.
The world is set to add 167 GW gigawatts (GW) of renewable power capacity this year, 13% less than in 2019, according to the IEA’s Renewable Market Update report.
"The decline reflects possible delays in construction activity due to supply chain disruptions, lockdown measures and social distancing guidelines, as well as emerging financing challenges," the report stated and added that despite the slowdown in new additions, overall global renewable power capacity is still growing by 6% in 2020.
Nonetheless, the report reveals that renewable power sources have so far shown impressive resilience despite the disruptions and changes caused by the pandemic, with their share of the electricity mix increasing in many markets.
Commenting on the report, Fatih Birol, the IEA executive director, said the resilience of renewable electricity to the impacts of the COVID-19 crisis is good news but cannot be taken for granted.
According to Birol, countries are continuing to build new wind turbines and solar plants, but at a much slower pace.
He warned that even before the COVID-19 pandemic struck, the world needed to significantly accelerate the deployment of renewables to have a chance of meeting its energy and climate goals.
He added that, "amid today’s extraordinary health and economic challenges, governments must not lose sight of the essential task of stepping up clean energy transitions to enable us to emerge from the crisis on a secure and sustainable path."
By Gulsen Cagatay and Nuran Erkul Kaya