For the first time since 2001, the growth in renewable energy capacity did not increase in 2018. This according to data from the International Energy Agency (IEA). The new capacity from solar cells, windmills, hydro power, bioenergy and other renewable energy sources reached 180 GW in 2018, the exact same growth level as the year before.
According to the IEA, the growth level from the last couple of years only accounted for around 60 % of the additions necessary, if the world is to reach the global goals, which were agreed upon in the Paris Agreement in 2015. The reason is, that the global energy consumption continues to increase. In 2018, the total global carbon emission level was 33 gigatonnes, up 1,7 % from the previous year.
For many years, China has increased the role of renewables in its power mix rapidly, but in 2018, this development changed. The growth in renewable energy capacity fell from 82 GW in 2017 to 77 GW last year, primarily caused by a slowdown in solar panel growth. In the EU, the growth has stalled as well. In 2018, the union’s capacity of renewables increased by 22 GW, compared to 23 GW in 2017. It was problems increasing the onshore windmill sector, which led to the slowdown of the EU growth. In other large economies such as India and Japan, the growth has stalled as well.
While China and the EU have to deal with decreasing growth in renewable energy, the situation is different in some of the other, and economically less important countries in the world, according to the IEA. The growth increases in both the Middle East, Northern Africa and parts of Asia.