Sure, things may look pretty grim when it comes to the climate. But new data and forecasts from the International Energy Agency suggest we’re at least not going backward—and renewable energy growth is set to accelerate.
Am IEA report released Wednesday found 2021 is on track to set a record for new renewable energy capacity additions. The estimated 290 gigawatts of renewable capacity the IEA expects will be commissioned will far surpass the previous record set just last year.
The report’s forecast for the next five years suggests renewable energy capacity will ramp up even further over the next half-decade. Renewable energy is expected to account for 95% of the increase in global power capacity through 2026, with solar playing an outsized role. Aggressive new climate goals and renewed government interest in climate policy mean the amount of renewable capacity added over the next five years could be 50% higher than that added from 2015 to 2020.
All of this positive news comes despite rising costs across the board associated with the global supply chain crunch. Though those constraints have not seemed to thwart renewable additions so far, the agency warned a continued increase in commodity prices could wipe out cost reductions made in solar over the past three years and result in wind energy investments shooting back up to levels not seen since 2015 to meet burgeoning demand.
Here are six charts from the report for a glimpse of the state of renewable energy capacity over the next five years—and a reminder that even though we’re on the right track, we need to go down that road even faster to avert even worse impacts of climate change.