The Paris-based International Energy Agency sees renewable energy resources surpassing coal as a source of electricity within a few short years. File photo by Pat Benic/UPI | License Photo
Dec. 6 (UPI) -- The capacity for renewable energy resources is accelerating to the point that they will overtake coal as the largest source of global electricity in just a few short years, the International Energy Agency found.
The IEA, based in Paris, said the pace of expansion for renewable sources of energy over the next five years is expected to be 85% faster than the previous five-year period and nearly 30% higher than the agency expected in a similar forecast from last year.
"Renewables were already expanding quickly, but the global energy crisis has kicked them into an extraordinary new phase of even faster growth as countries seek to capitalize on their energy security benefits," IEA Executive Director Fatih Birol said.
Through 2027, the IEA expects that renewable resources will represent more than 90% of capacity expansions globally. Most of that growth is expected from the world's leading economies -- the United States, China, India and the European Union.
And within just two years, by 2025, the IEA expects renewables will be the largest single source of electricity generation, surpassing coal. Coal, natural gas, nuclear power and crude oil are all expected to decrease in terms of power generation capacity as the so-called energy transition accelerates.
The war in Ukraine was an important development in the energy sector. Demand collapsed during the worst of the COVID-19 pandemic, but surged substantially in late 2021 and early 2022 as vaccinations progressed.
The war in Ukraine is a decisive moment for renewables, particularly in Europe where governments and businesses are looking to rapidly replace Russian gas with alternatives. As far as energy security is concerned, the IEA said the war was a motivation to turn to less-geopolitically sensitives sources of energy, from wind to solar.
"The world is set to add as much renewable power in the next five years as it did in the previous 20 years," Birol said. "This is a clear example of how the current energy crisis can be a historic turning point towards a cleaner and more secure energy system."