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IEA says China remains leader of renewables

IEA says China remains leader of renewables

A report shows that solar energy was the fastest-growing source of power past year, accounting for nearly two-thirds of net new capacity globally.The International Energy Agency said Wednesday that the rise was due to a boom in photovoltaic panel installations, particularly in China, thanks to a drop in costs and greater support from governments.

The surge in solar power has come as a result of policies supporting low-carbon energy and cost reductions for solar PV and wind.

This year's renewable energy report from the International Energy Agency (IEA) confirms what many watching the industry already know: clean energy prices have taken a nosedive, upping competition and uptake of new technologies. Capacity grew 50 percent past year - beating net growth from every other power source, including coal, for the first time.

Although coal would remain the largest source of electricity generation in 2022, renewables would close the generation gap with coal by half, the IEA said.

"The message is very clear: Competition is driving cost down at a pace which is much faster than it was in the past", said Dr. Paolo Frankl, head of IEA's renewable energy division, on a call with reporters.

While China today is far and away the global leader in solar generation, a decade ago, the country had just 100 megawatts of solar photovoltaic (PV) capacity installed. "This marks a turning point and underpins our more optimistic solar PV forecast".

"Three countries - China, India and the United States - will account for two-thirds of global renewable expansion by 2022", the IEA said.

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The United States is the second-largest growth market for renewables.

"Solar PV is entering a new era", said an ebullient IEA in its report.

By then, renewables will account for 30 per cent of power generation, up from 24 per cent in 2016.

The agency added that it expects more than 920GW of clean power to be installed by 2022, an increase of 43%.

China has already exceeded its current five year plan for solar and 2017 is set to be another record year of installations.

The rise in solar is mainly driven by developments in China, although there are other factors worldwide that help to explain its growth.

The IEA, however, expects the growth in hydro power capacity to "slow significantly" beyond 2022, after a raft of new hydro projects come online. As a whole, renewables represented almost two-thirds of new electricity capacity additions previous year, far outshining coal and natural gas growth.


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