New data released by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) shows that the renewable energy sector added 176 GW of generating capacity globally in 2019, slightly lower than the 179 GW added in 2018. Despite the modest decline, renewable capacity growth accounted for 72% of all power expansion last year and outpaced fossil fuel growth by a factor of 2.6.

Renewables accounted for at least 70% of total capacity expansion in almost all regions in 2019, other than in Africa and the Middle East where they represented 52% and 26% of net additions respectively. These energy forms now account for 34.7% of all global capacity, up from 33.3% at the end of 2018.

Solar added 98 GW in 2019, with most expansions realized in Asia. Wind energy expanded by close to 60 GW led by growth in China (26 GW) and the U.S. (9 GW). The two technologies now generate 623 GW and 586 GW respectively, accounting for almost half of global renewable capacity.

Geothermal power capacity grew by 682 MW in 2019, slightly more than in 2018, while only a modest 12 GW expansion of hydropower was documented. Bioenergy capacity grew by 6 GW, primarily in China, as off-grid capacity grew by 160 MW to reach 8.6 GW in 2019.

Annual trends in renewable power capacity growth. Source: IRENAAnnual trends in renewable power capacity growth. Source: IRENA

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