Dhe International Energy Agency (IEA) in Paris expects an unprecedented global boom in renewable energies as a result of the Ukraine war. “In the coming years, as many new capacities will be created as in the past 20 years combined,” said IEA Director General Fatih Birol in an interview with FAZ.NET. Never before has the Energy Agency increased its forecasts for renewable energies as much as it is now.
The growth spurt will see wind, solar and other forms of renewable energy overtake coal-fired power plants as the world’s largest power generator by 2025, energy experts predict. The increase in coal-fired power generation due to the current energy crisis, on the other hand, is only a temporary phenomenon. “In Europe, Germany will have by far the largest expansion of green energy,” said Birol.
Germany leading in Europe
The Energy Agency, in its new report released on Tuesday, estimates that the world’s green power generation capacity will nearly double in the next five years. Overall, an increase of around 2,400 gigawatts can be expected, which corresponds to the entire power plant park in China. If funding bottlenecks and regulatory delays can be overcome, up to 3,000 gigawatts could even be achieved.
So far, the expansion of wind and solar energy has been motivated primarily by climate protection, says IEA boss Birol: “Now security of supply has become the most important driver.” The energy crisis caused by the Russian attack on Ukraine is causing many governments to to promote renewable energies in their own country in order to become less dependent on energy imports. Founded five decades ago in response to the first oil price crisis, the Energy Agency is a multinational research institution under the umbrella of the OECD group of industrialized countries. The IEA’s forecasts for the energy sector are widely followed.
“Historical turning point”
“This crisis is causing a lot of suffering and problems, but it will also be a historic turning point for the world’s energy supply,” expects Birol. China will continue to be the largest investor in green energy in the coming years: According to estimates by the Energy Agency, the emerging Asian world power will account for almost half of global expansion by 2027. In Europe, the USA and India, too, construction will be greatly accelerated. With its RePowerEU program, the EU Commission wants to channel more money into green energies. The United States wants to achieve this with the Inflation Reduction Act passed in the summer.
The energy experts at the IEA have the most confidence in solar energy, whose installed capacity will almost triple by 2027. Despite rising prices for photovoltaic systems, large solar parks remain the most cost-effective solution for creating new electricity generation capacity in many countries. According to the IEA, wind power capacity will almost double, although lengthy approval processes and insufficient expansion of the power grids have slowed growth.