The bulk of new energy generation capacity added in 2019 was made up of renewable energy sources, according to a report from the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA).
Around 72% of added energy capacity in 2019 came from renewable energy sources, the report said, the highest percentage since 2001, when the report’s data begins. Renewable energy sources now make up 34.7% of total generation capacity.
"While the trajectory is positive, more is required to put global energy on a path with sustainable development and climate mitigation," Francesco La Camera, director general of IRENA, told the Guardian.
IRENA has previously stated that renewable energy sources should generate 57% of the world’s electricity by 2030 to reach "a pathway to climate safety."
Renewable energy capacity itself grew 7.4% in 2019. Solar energy and wind power made up the overwhelming majority of new renewable energy capacity, accouting for 90%, although hydropower remains the biggest source of renewable energy overall.
Over half of new renewable energy capacity added was in Asia. Non-renewable energy capacity has also continued to expand in Asia, the Middle East, and Africa. Renewable sources counted for at least 70% of new energy capacity in most world regions, except for Africa and the Middle East.
Transitioning the energy sector away from greenhouse gas-emitting fossil fuels, such as coal, is essential for preventing the worst effects of global climate change. Climate change poses a major obstacle to eradicating extreme poverty. Scientists warn that it could displace millions of people, cause food and water scarcity, and endanger livelihoods.