The coronavirus pandemic has had a momentous impact on all industries across the world, including the renewable energy sector. However, unlike many other markets, the pandemic actually had a positive influence on the development of clean energy. According to the International Energy Agency’s (IEA) Renewable Energy Market Update 2021, “renewables were the only energy source for which demand increased in 2020 despite the pandemic, while consumption of all other fuels declined.” Specifically, renewable capacity additions rose by 45% in 2020 to a total of 280 gigawatts (GW), which represented the largest year-on-year increase since 1999.
In the face of the supply chain difficulties and manufacturing delays caused by the pandemic, the IEA attributed the resiliency of this sector to policy deadlines in China, the United States, and Vietnam. In the United States, clean energy developers rushed to complete construction in time for projects to be eligible for the production tax credit (PTC), which was originally set to expire in December 2020. The PTC is a per kilowatt-hour (kWh) federal tax credit for electricity generated by qualified renewable energy sources, and thus motivated clean energy development throughout the past year. Despite its original deadline, the PTC ended up being extended for another year, which supports the prediction of continued growth within this market.
In terms of specific renewable energy sources (RES), solar energy had a particularly successful year. According to the US Energy Information Administration (EIA), 2020 US solar consumption increased by 22% from 2019. The IEA’s report echoes this trend, describing solar energy as the “new king of global electricity markets.” Their data forecasts that solar PV installation annual additions will reach over 160 GW by 2020, which would be almost 50% higher than the level achieved in 2019 prior to the pandemic. According to the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), solar capacity increased by 49GW in China, 11GW in Vietnam, 5GW in India, and 15GW in the United States.
The positive influence that the pandemic had on RES is unprecedented and momentous. Francesco La Camera, the Director-General of the IRENA described these statistics as “a remarkable story of resilience and hope. Despite the challenges and the uncertainty of 2020, renewable energy emerged as a source of undeniable optimism for a better, more equitable, resilient, clean, and just future.” Although he described this trend towards renewables as “unstoppable,” he also reaffirmed that there still remains a significant amount of work to be done. “In this critical decade of action, the international community must look to this trend as a source of inspiration to go further,” he concluded.
This revitalization of renewable resources in the face of the pandemic only reinvigorates Power2Peer’s mission. The growth of the solar energy market is particularly encouraging, as Power2Peer’s Virtual Clean Power Network focuses on this type of RES. Our objective to create a decentralized, cost-effective, and blockchain-secured marketplace to streamline the trading of clean energy and reduce consumers’ carbon footprints could not be a more worthy or timely investment. We hope you join us in making this vision a reality.
IEA. (2021, May 1). Renewables are Stronger than Ever as they Power Through the Pandemic. IEA. https://www.iea.org/news/renewables-are-stronger-than-ever-as-they-power-through-the-pandemic.
Environmental Protection Agency. (2021, May 11). Renewable Electricity Production Tax Credit Information. United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). https://www.epa.gov/lmop/renewable-electricity-production-tax-credit-information.
The United States consumed a record amount of renewable energy in 2020. U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA). (2021, June 16). https://www.eia.gov/todayinenergy/detail.php?id=48396.
World Adds Record New Renewable Energy Capacity in 2020. International Renewable Energy Agency . (2021, April 5). https://www.irena.org/newsroom/pressreleases/2021/Apr/World-Adds-Record-New-Renewable-Energy-Capacity-in-2020.
Photo by American Public Power Association on Unsplash