Interactive data depict global energy transition trendsS. Himmelstein | November 17, 2021
As part of its mission to document the energy transition and progress in meeting the Paris Agreement aim of limiting global warming to below 1.5° C, Energy Monitor is tracking the development of new power plants across the world in three interactive data stories. Updated data cover planned solar, wind, hydropower, nuclear, geothermal, ocean, biomass and fossil fuel capacity additions in major world regions.
Since thermal power plants have a typical lifespan of 40 years, the most logical path to net zero would mean no new fossil plants coming online — but more than anywhere else in the world, this is not what is happening in the Asia-Pacific region, where a 741 GW of pipeline fossil fuel capacity is set to be added to 2,182 GW of existing capacity. Huge amounts of renewables are being installed, but overall, the amount of upcoming fossil fuel capacity is barely outpaced by green alternatives: 741 GW versus 1,087 GW.
In the Americas, 125 GW of fossil fuel power is in the pipeline and will be added to the 1,037 GW that already exists. While 249 GW of solar and 281 GW of wind projects lead the way for new capacity, in third position comes 120 GW of natural gas.
In Europe, 118 GW of new fossil fuel capacity is set to be added to 697 GW of current capacity. In Africa and the Middle East, 204 GW will be added to 504 GW of current capacity. Europe has an overall capacity pipeline of 829 GW, 712 GW of which is clean power. Despite having nearly twice the population of Europe, the Middle East and Africa have 472 GW in the pipeline, of which 270 GW is clean.