2021 is the year climate change had its big break, from the US re-joining the Paris Agreement to COP26, ambitious NetZero pledges, all combined with the Greta movement. People are definitely taking notice when it comes to the substantial impact it can have, on the entire planet.
If you’re one of the 111 million people who watched the satirical Netflix film Don’t Look Up, you’ll understand there’s still a way to go when it comes to generating real action from figureheads, but 2022 could be the breakthrough year with the unstoppable rise of the renewables.
The hype towards a Di Caprio role for renewable energy has been growing for several years. However, the latest data indicates that it could finally get the Oscar in 2022 as the integration of green energy is accelerating faster than ever before, driven by a mixture of government policies, public pressure for environmental action, investment in technology, and of course market dynamics.
In 2020, the industry grew at its fastest pace in two decades, despite any disruption that was caused by the pandemic. The IEA reported in its 2021 Renewable Energy Market Update that the amount of renewable capacity added rose by 45% in 2020 to 280 GW, the most significant year-on-year increase since 1999. This is set to become the ‘new normal, with about 270GW of renewable capacity on course to be added in 2021 and almost 280GW in 2022.
Let’s talk about Europe as the annual capacity additions are forecast to increase 11% to 44GW in 2021 and 49GW in 2022. Germany is expected to deliver the largest renewable capacity additions, followed by France, the Netherlands, Spain, and the UK.
In the USA, renewable capacity growth this year and next is mainly pushed by the extension of federal tax credits, which last until the end of December 2025. While fossil fuels account for 85% of generation, the introduction of renewables is likely to see a massive acceleration under Joe Biden, who targeted the USA for a zero-carbon power grid by 2035. The US Energy Information Administration estimates that of the 41.9GW of electric generating capacity additions planned, 44% would be wind generation, 32% solar PV, 22% natural gas-fired, and 2% from other sources. A vast breakthrough, if hit.
The breakthrough that 2022 needs to see in renewable energy will definitely allow investors to turn away from fossil fuels to exciting, topical opportunities built around carbon reduction and the environmentally responsible use of resources. Next-generation clean energy tech will also likely continue a path toward commercialization this year, maintained by the support of investors and DOE programs.
We’re on track to set the stage for a sustainable, greener future in 2022. At the forefront of this should be an investment into the talent that will make it happen. From the blue collars to the techies and the finance moguls behind the scenes, we’re talking about the leaders, the experienced, the youth, the diverse and the equitable; with a strong workforce, we can navigate a greener 2022 successfully.
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