Wind and solar power surges in record year

9th August, 2021.      //   General Interest  // 

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Even as the growing powerhouse continues to build new fossil-fuel-burning coal facilities, China led a record growth in wind and solar electricity in 2020.

According to BP’s latest annual analysis of world energy, wind and solar power capacity increased by 238GW last year, about 50 percent more than any previous growth.

The increase in renewable production is about seven times the UK’s entire installed capacity, and it happened in a year marked by a drop in energy usage as the epidemic slowed worldwide travel.

China was responsible for more than half of the increase in wind and solar capacity. Some of the rise was due to changes in the Chinese subsidy scheme, which pushed projects forward, but even after accounting for this, BP claimed there remained a considerable increase.

Wind, solar, and other renewable energy sources are on the increase as nations and businesses vow to reduce carbon emissions in accordance with the Paris climate agreements. China said last year that it will reduce its emissions to zero by 2060.

Renewable energy, such as wind and solar, increased its share of the global power mix from 10.3 percent to 11.7 percent.

According to BP, this proportion reached 23.8 percent across Europe, making it the first area where renewables are the primary source of energy.

The statistics tend to assuage fears that low oil prices and busy politicians would stymie the transition to greener energy at the outset of the epidemic.

Meanwhile, coal’s proportion of electricity generation dropped 1.3 percentage points to 35.1 percent.
Although coal-fired power remains largely stable in comparison to 2015, this is a record low proportion.

Coal usage in the OECD club of industrialized countries has dropped to its lowest level since 1965, according to BP’s yearly assessment. China and Malaysia, on the other hand, increased their coal use.

Despite its drive for renewables, China approved 13GW of coal-fired facilities last year, a 45 percent increase over 2019 levels, according to an International Energy Agency study released in June.

To aid the country’s recovery from the epidemic, officials eased limits on new plants.

Bernard Looney, chief executive of BP, said: “The relative immunity of renewable energy to the events of last year is encouraging.

“The challenge is to achieve sustained, comparable year-on-year reductions in emissions without massive disruption to our livelihoods and our everyday lives.”

According to BP, the collapse in demand for energy, particularly oil, during the pandemic resulted in a 6 percent reduction in carbon emissions from energy usage, the biggest drop since 1945.

However, this came at a significant cost, with global GDP dropping by more than 3.5 percent.

BP’s top economist, Spencer Dale, stated: “Despite the turmoil, despite the collapse in world GDP, wind and solar just continue to grow.

“The increase in installed capacity last year is 50pc bigger than any time in history.”

BP is one of several big corporations that have pledged to reduce carbon emissions by investing more in renewables while reducing oil and gas output.