The global rise in fuel prices has sparked a push for energy security that will hasten the advancement of renewable energy sources, the International Energy Agency (IEA) said in its latest report. 

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has prompted several countries to increasingly rely on renewables such as solar PV and wind to minimise dependency on imported fossil fuels. Authors of the IEA’s report expect global renewable power capacity to increase by 2,400 gigawatts (GW)between 2022 and 2027. 

Renewables will overtake coal as the leading source of global electricity generation by early 2025. The renewables’ share of power generation will improve by 10% throughout the timeframe, reaching 38% in 2027. 

Fatih Birol, the IEA’s executive director, said: “Renewables were already expanding quickly, but the global energy crisis has kicked them into an extraordinary new phase of even faster growth as countries seek to capitalise on their energy security benefits. The world is set to add as much renewable power in the next 5 years as it did in the previous 20 years.

“This is a clear example of how the current energy crisis can be a historic turning point towards a cleaner and more secure energy system. Renewables’ continued acceleration is critical to help keep the door open to limiting global warming to 1.5°C.” 

Electricity from wind and solar will increase by more than double over the next five years, accounting for over 20% of global power generation in 2027. The report stated that these variable technologies account for 80% of the global increase in renewable energy throughout the predicted period. However, this will necessitate the addition of new sources of power system flexibility.

In the IEA forecast, cumulative solar PV capacity will nearly triple during the 2020s, increasing by almost 1,500 GW, surpassing natural gas by 2026 and coal by 2027. Despite rising commodity prices, utility-scale solar PV remains the least expensive choice for new energy generation in most countries globally, despite higher investment costs.

To tackle the energy crisis, China, the US, and India have formulated policies and executed regulatory and market reforms faster than anticipated.

China will contribute about half of new global renewable power capacity additions between 2022 and 2027 as part of its 14th Five-Year Plan. In India, new renewable installations will double during the forecast period, led by solar PV and driven by competitive auctions to meet the government’s target of 500 GW of non-fossil fuelled energy capacity by 2030. Meanwhile, the US Inflation Reduction Act has offered further support and long-term visibility for renewables expansion in the US.