Renewable energy usage increases by three 'United Kingdoms'

  •   1 min read
Renewable energy usage increases by three 'United Kingdoms'

Annual renewable capacity increased by 280GW in 2020 enough to provide power to the UK, more than three times over.

According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), last year saw annual renewable capacity increase by 280 GW or by 45 per cent. That was the biggest annual increase since 1999.

The IEA forecasts that 2022 will see solar power reaching 162 GW, almost 50 per cent more than  in 2019.

It stated: "Solar PV development will continue to break records, with annual additions reaching 162 GW by 2022 – almost 50 per cent higher than the pre-pandemic level of 2019.

"Global wind capacity additions increased more than 90 per cent in 2020 to reach 114 GW. While the pace of annual market growth slows in 2021 and 2022, it is still 50 per cent higher than the 2017-2019 average."

These figures are important, but for 99 per cent of us the numbers mean very little. What on earth does 280 GW mean? For that matter, what does 1GW mean?

To answer that question, let's take a look at another report. According to IRENA, "total renewable energy generation capacity reached 2,351 GW at the end of last year – around a third of total installed electricity capacity."

So, if global renewable additions in 2020 amounted to 280GW, around four per cent of global electricity output. One GW is about 0.014 per cent of global capacity.

Or look at it another way. According to Wikipedia, UK electricity capacity is 85GW.  so global renewable capacity increased by three and a half UKs last year, or approaching the UK, France and Germany, combined.

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