Clean energy journalism for a cooler tomorrow

Chart: Global renewables deployments to hit record levels in 2023

New IEA figures show the industry is bouncing back from pandemic-related delays and supply-chain woes, thanks in large part to onshore wind growth.
By Eric Wesoff, Maria Virginia Olano

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Wind turbines spin on a large open plain with mountains in the distant background. A graphic border says chart of the week

Canary Media’s chart of the week translates crucial data about the clean energy transition into a visual format.

The global renewable energy market is growing faster than most analysts had forecast — and it’s being led by solar power and a resurgent onshore wind market, much of it in China.

After modest sector growth over the last two years due to pandemic-related supply-chain woes, 2023 is setting the pace for an accelerated phase of renewable energy deployment, based on the stats in the latest Renewable Energy Market Update from the International Energy Agency.

Global renewable capacity additions are set to jump by an eye-popping 107 gigawatts to more than 440 gigawatts in 2023. It’s the largest absolute increase ever, and it’s being facilitated by improved policy support, worries about energy security, and the competitive pricing of solar, wind and energy storage.

Those growth drivers are proving stronger than the headwinds of higher interest rates, inflation, and supply-chain strains still lingering from the Covid pandemic.

Surging onshore wind capacity is playing a leading role in the overall market’s growth. After two years of decline, onshore wind capacity additions are projected to bounce back by 70 percent in 2023 to an all-time record of 107 gigawatts. Many of these new additions are in China and stem from developers catching up on Covid-delayed projects.

But the report is less sanguine about the future of the global wind sector beyond this year. IEA analysts expect this rebound to be short-lived, noting that without rapid policy implementation,” onshore wind additions in 2024 will fall by around 5 percent from 2023 levels. The report finds healthy market conditions for solar, however, now and in the years to come.

While the U.S., EU and India have healthy renewable markets and increasingly favorable policy, it’s China that’s the source of these remarkable growth figures.

Currently the world’s biggest CO2 emitter, China is expected to solidify its role as a global renewable energy leader in the coming years, accounting for almost 70 percent of all new offshore wind projects, as well as over 60 percent of onshore wind and 50 percent of solar PV projects by 2024.

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Eric Wesoff is the executive director at Canary Media.

Maria Virginia Olano is chief of staff at Canary Media.