New report from IEA: The Covid-19 crisis is hurting but not halting global growth in renewable power capacity

The world is set to build fewer wind turbines, solar plants and other installations that produce renewable electricity this year because of the impact of the Covid-19 crisis, marking the first annual decline in new additions in 20 years. But their growth is expected to resume next year as most of the delayed projects come online and assuming a continuation of supportive government policies. All according to the the IEA’s Renewable Market Update report, which was released today (May 20, 2020).

Renewable power sources have so far showed impressive resilience despite the disruptions and changes caused by the coronavirus pandemic, with their share of the electricity mix increasing in many markets. But the world is set to add 167 GW gigawatts (GW) of renewable power capacity this year, 13% less than in 2019. The decline reflects possible delays in construction activity due to supply chain disruptions, lockdown measures and social distancing guidelines, as well as emerging financing challenges. But despite the slowdown in new additions, overall global renewable power capacity still grows by 6% in 2020, surpassing the total power capacity of North America and Europe combined.

In addition to an extensive overview of renewable the impact of Covid -19 on renewable power production, divided into technology-specific summaries, the report also describes the virus’s effect on transport biofuels and renewable heat, including heat pumps (it is possible to search specifically for the term “heat pump”).

The consumption of renewables for heating is set to decline in 2020. The recent plunge in oil and gas prices is hurting the cost-competitiveness of renewable fuels and technologies that provide heating. Many planned investments to switch from fossil-fuel heating to renewable or electric alternatives are likely to be postponed or cancelled unless governments introduce stronger policy support.