Renewables will be the largest source of electricity by early 2025

Wind and solar are set to account for over 90% of global electricity expansion over the next five years, overtaking coal to become the largest source of global electricity by early 2025, according to “Renewables 2022,” the latest edition of the International Energy Agency’s (IEA) annual report on the renewable sector.

Total renewable capacity growth worldwide is set to almost double in the next five years. In other words, the world will add as much renewable power in the next five years as it did in the past 20.

And even better, the report also lays out a case in which renewable power capacity could grow a further 25% on top of the main forecast.

The IEA report also notes that global renewable power capacity is now expected to grow by 2,400 gigawatts (GW) over the 2022-2027 period – an amount equal to the entire power capacity of China.

This huge expected increase is 30% higher than the amount of growth that was forecast just a year ago.

The rapid growth is attributed by the IEA to governments rapidly lining up the adoption of renewables in response to the global energy crisis. The Russian invasion of Ukraine resulted in Europe working to quickly replace Russian gas with alternatives. 

Europe’s renewable power capacity added from 2022 to 2027 is forecast to be twice as high as in the previous five-year period.

The IEA writes:

An even faster deployment of wind and solar PV could be achieved if EU member states were to rapidly implement a number of policies, including streamlining and reducing permitting timelines, improving auction designs and providing better visibility on auction schedules, as well as improving incentive schemes to support rooftop solar.

The US, China, and India are also driving renewables’ upward trajectory. China is expected to account for almost half of new global renewable power capacity additions over the 2022-2027 period as the result of its recent 14th Five-Year Plan. And new policies in the US and India are expected to boost investment in solar manufacturing by as much as $25 billion over the next five years.

The IEA says that in a large majority of countries, utility-scale solar PV and onshore wind are the cheapest options for new electricity generation.

Global solar PV capacity is set to almost triple over the 2022-2027 period and become the world’s largest source of power capacity. The report forecasts growth of residential and commercial rooftop solar.

Global wind capacity almost doubles in the five-year period, with offshore wind making up one-fifth of the projected growth.

Sean Rai-Roche, policy adviser at climate change think tank E3G, said:

The latest analysis from the IEA reiterates an increasingly clear trend: Renewable energy is now a cheaper, cleaner, more energy-secure way to power our economies than burning coal, oil, or gas.

Wind, solar, and energy storage are the fastest, most cost-effective routes to achieving this and would upgrade societies by equipping them with the tools necessary for an energy-secure future.

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Avatar for Michelle Lewis Michelle Lewis

Michelle Lewis is a writer and editor on Electrek and an editor on DroneDJ, 9to5Mac, and 9to5Google. She lives in White River Junction, Vermont. She has previously worked for Fast Company, the Guardian, News Deeply, Time, and others. Message Michelle on Twitter or at Check out her personal blog.