The respected International Energy Agency (IEA) has found that world renewable energy capacity grew at the fastest ever annual rate in 2013, The Guardian has reported. Moreover, renewable energy now accounts for 22% of the world’s electricity generation, and that figure is expected to climb to 26% by 2020.
The new analysis by the IEA also revealed that clean energy sources made up 80% of new power capacity last year, out of the 29 member countries that are part of the OECD (Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development); this included the United Sates and most of Europe. Renewables accounted for 70% of the growth in new capacity among non-OECD countries. Notably, Africa is expected to see more renewable energy installed in 2014 than in the previous 14 years combined.
Overall, more than $250 billion was invested in clean energy generating systems throughout 2013. However, the pace of investment is expected to plateau, with an estimated average of $230 billion invested annually through to 2020. Investment in renewables has so far peaked at $280 billion in 2011.
Even though the average amount invested could plateau, it should be said that the cost of renewable energy technologies is also dropping, so investors are getting more bang for their investment buck, so to speak. In any case, a recent market outlook by Bloomberg New Energy Finance estimated that renewable energy could account for as much as two-thirds of the $7.7 trillion that is likely to be invested in new power plants through to 2030.