Renewable energy has been experiencing substantial growth over the past years, with total global capacity of renewable energy reaching a record high of 3372 GW in 2022. This represents an increase of 295 GW from the previous year. This growth is noteworthy as it signifies the largest annual increase in renewable energy capacity ever recorded, surpassing the additions of 270 GW in 2020 and 264 GW in 2021.
This robust growth in renewable energy accounted for 83% of all new power capacity added worldwide in 2022, underlining the world’s accelerating shift towards renewable energy sources. As a result, the overall share of renewable energy in global power capacity increased, going from 38% in 2021 to over 40% in 2022.
Looking at the types of renewable energy technologies, hydropower is the most substantial contributor to global renewable energy capacity, with solar and wind trailing behind it. However, solar and wind have been catching up over the past two decades.
In 2000, hydropower made up 93% of the renewable energy capacity. Fast forward to 2022, and its share has declined to 37%, largely due to the rapid expansion of solar and wind energy. In 2022, solar energy accounted for 31% and wind energy for about 27% of the renewable energy capacity. The remaining share is made up of bioenergy, geothermal, and marine energy, contributing 4.42%, 0.44%, and 0.02% respectively.
By the close of 2022, the worlds total wind energy capacity reached 899 GW, making it the third-largest renewable energy source after hydropower and solar energy, and making up 27% of the worlds total renewable energy capacity.
2022 saw wind energy add 75 GW of new energy capacity, contributing a substantial 9% to the total renewable capacity expansion of 295 GW for the year. This is however, less than the record in 2020 of 111 GW and 93 GW in 2021.
Further breaking down the wind energy sector, onshore wind formed the bulk of global wind energy capacity in 2022 with 836 GW, while offshore wind contributed 63 GW. Despite the apparent dominance of onshore wind, offshore wind’s potential is increasingly being harnessed, contributing to about 7% of all wind capacity in 2022, compared to 3% in 2015.
Out of the 75 GW net total additional wind capacity in 2022, onshore wind accounted for 66 GW and offshore wind the remaining 9 GW.
The ascent of wind energy is driven by some key nations. China is leading the charge, with over 365 GW (40%) of the total 899 GW wind capacity worldwide, followed by USA (140 GW) and Germany (66 GW). These three countries are at the front also if we look at just onshore wind. For offshore wind, China still leads, followed by the UK and Germany.
In 2022, China accounted for almost half of the 75 GW expansion in wind energy, adding 37 GW to its total capacity. The United States added a fifth of this with an additional 7.8 GW. Other notable expansions occurred in Brazil and a few European countries.
Given the rise and dominance of China, Asia has risen to become the largest contributor to global wind energy capacity, hosting almost half of total capacity. In the last two years, Asia has also surpassed Europe as the largest share of offshore wind capacity.
By the close of 2022, the worlds total solar energy capacity reached 1053 GW, making it the second-largest renewable energy source after hydropower and making up 31% of the worlds total renewable energy capacity. The last decade has seen a very strong growth in solar energy capacity. Compared to 2010, global solar capacity is now 25 times higher.
2022 saw solar energy add 192 GW of new energy capacity, making it the largest contributor to total renewable capacity expansion of 295 GW for the year. 2022 was a new record year for solar capacity, with over 50 GW more capacity added than in 2021.
Solar capacity comes in two technologies, solar photovoltaics and concentrated solar power. The former makes up 99% of the total capacity.
The ascent of solar energy is driven by some key nations. China is by far the largest capacity provider, with over 393 GW of the total 1053 GW solar capacity worldwide, followed by USA (113 GW) and Japan (79GW).
Data for net additions shows that just in 2022, China added over 86 GW, 22% of its overall capacity. The United States, India, Brazil, the Netherlands and Germany also added significant capacity last year and combined these six countries accounted for 73% of total worldwide added capacity in 2022.
In 2022, Asia made up almost 600 GW of the total 1053GW capacity (57%), making it the most dominant region in solar power. Since 2018, however, other regions have stepped up such that Asias share has remained more of less unchanged.
Despite the strong growth of solar and wind, renewable hydropower remains the largest renewable technology in terms of power capacity. In 2022, total installed capacity worldwide reached above 1250 GW, accounting for 37% of total renewable capcity. This is compared to 96% in 2000 and 76% in 2010.
Over the past decade, net added renewable hydropower capacity has slowed signifiantly from a high of 45 GW in 2013 to 21 GW in 2022, thus making up just 7% of the total 295 GW of added renewable capacity in 2022 worldwide.
As with wind and solar, China is the leading nation also when it comes to renwable hydropower, followed by Brazil, USA, Canada and Russia.
Data for net additions shows that just in 2022, China added over 13 GW, over half of the 21GW total worldwide capacity added. The remaining added capacity was relatively widely distributed across other countries.
Given Chinas dominance, Asia is the region with the largest renewable hydropower capacity.
In 2022 global geothermal capacity stood at 15 GW, about twice as much as in 2000. Geothermal energy capacity made up around 0.5% of the worlds total renewable energy capacity in 2022.
Over the few year, net added geothermal capacity has slowed, and in 2022 just 0.18 GW was added worldwide, the lowest since 2011.
The United States is the worlds largest nation in terms of geothermal energy capacity, followed by Indionesia, Philippines, New Zealand and Mexico.
As show above, in 2022 only 0.18 GW of geothermal energy capacity was added worldwide. Country data shows that the was majority of these additions came in Kenya, Indonesia and the United States.
Given Chinas dominance, Asia is the region with the largest renewable geothermal capacity, accounting for about a third (5 GW) of global capacity.
Total global bionenergy capacity reached just below 150 GW in 2022. Over the past decades, bioenergy has grown steadily, adding an additional 8 GW in 2022 compared to 2021. Given the strong growth of other renewables, it’s share of total renewable capacity has remained around 4-5%.
In 2022, China stands as on top in terms of total bioenergy capacity, followed by Brazil, the United States, India and Germany.
China was also the country with the by far largest addition of bioenergy capacity in 2022. Outside of China, Japan, Brazil and Indonesia, other countries saw minimal expansion in capacity last year.
Regionally, Asia accounted for 43% of global capacity, a share that has increased significantly over the past two decades.