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In the industrialized world, Denmark will be the vanguard of renewable energy by 2022

"In the industrialized world, Denmark will be the vanguard of renewable energy by 2022, with 70 percent of its electricity generated by wind, solar and other renewables," Cole writes. (Photo: Oregon Department of Transportation/Flickr/cc)

Top Ten Renewable Energy Surprises in New IEA Report

A new International Energy Agency report contains some startling findings about solar energy dominance and its future.

Juan Cole

 by Informed Comment

A new International Energy Agency report contains some startling findings about solar energy dominance and its future.

1. Renewables comprised 66% of all new net electricity capacity additions in 2016. Two-thirds of added capacity, in other words, consisted of photovoltaic solar cells, wind turbines and biofuels.

2. 165 gigawatts of new solar was added in 2016.

3. In 2016, new solar photovoltaic capacity globally grew by 50 percent.

4. China accounted for half of this additional solar capacity and for 42% of all new renewables additions.

5. Solar additions grew faster than any other fuel, leaving coal in the dust.

6. By 2022, the IEA expects nearly 1000 gigawatts of new solar to have been added internationally, an increase of 42 percent over today, in just 5 years.

7. Developments in India are also startling. By 2022 that country is expected to double its renewables electricity generation capacity (mainly wind and solar), a lightning fast pace of growth that is higher than the forecast for Europe.

8. Indian energy auctions yielded remarkably low prices for both wind and solar projects. In some Indian states, recent bids have been among the world’s lowest, and in some cases so low as to complete successfully with coal.

9. In the industrialized world, Denmark will be the vanguard of renewable energy by 2022, with 70% of its electricity generated by wind, solar and other renewables.

10. In several major European states, the share of wind and solar in electricity generation will come to 25%.

© 2021 Juan Cole
Juan Cole

Juan Cole

Juan Cole teaches Middle Eastern and South Asian history at the University of Michigan. His newest book, "Muhammad: Prophet of Peace Amid the Clash of Empires" was published in 2020. He is also the author of  "The New Arabs: How the Millennial Generation Is Changing the Middle East" (2015) and "Napoleon's Egypt: Invading the Middle East" (2008).  He has appeared widely on television, radio, and on op-ed pages as a commentator on Middle East affairs, and has a regular column at He has written, edited, or translated 14 books and has authored 60 journal articles. 

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