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2021 trend-breaking year for renewables, says Rystad

2021 trend-breaking year for renewables, says Rystad

28 Dec 2021

Global renewable energy installations broke industry trends in 2021 as residential solar outpaced commercial and industrial capacity additions for the first time and new onshore wind ones declined.

According to Norway-based independent energy research and business intelligence company Rystad Energy, this year has been a record-breaker for renewables globally, with 227 gigawatts (GW) of new capacity installed, a 4.7% increase over 2020 levels.

The firm said that installed utility solar photovoltaic (PV), residential solar PV, offshore wind, battery and other forms of energy storage had all increased in additions in 2021.

It said utility battery storage set a record high, growing threefold, while new offshore wind installations doubled compared to 2020.

Rystad said hydrogen electrolyser capacity also made sizeable gains, albeit from a small starting position, reaching 0.8 GW of capacity additions, up from 0.04 GW in 2020.

Looking ahead, renewable capacity additions are expected to skyrocket to over 270 GW of installed capacity in 2022, driven primarily by solar and hydrogen expansion.

Rystad head of renewables research Gero Farruggio said the renewable energy industry is facing some of its most significant challenges yet over the short term, but the future had never looked brighter with new and aggressive commitments from governments and companies alike.

“The carbon-neutral pledges set forth at the COP26 climate conference in Glasgow this year will help spur major growth in the coming years,” he said.

Rystad said driving the decline in total onshore wind is the winding down of Chinese subsidies, which are projected to cause a 40 GW drop in capacity additions for the Asian powerhouse, skewing global numbers as a result.

The firm said global onshore wind additions are expected to fall to around 85 GW in 2021, a 20 GW drop year-on-year, and a further 15 GW in 2022.

However, it said this trend will likely be short-lived from 2023 onwards as demand for renewable generation soars to achieve the capacities required for the 1.5°C target.

Source: The Edge Markets