10 / 01 / 2024

The Evolution of Renewable Energy Generation from 2000 to 2040

5 min read
The Evolution of Renewable Energy Generation from 2000 to 2040

Since the turn of the millennium, renewable energy generation has undergone a revolutionary transformation.

In this article, we will explore the evolution of electric power capacity generated by renewable sources from the year 2000 to the present day and venture into predictions up to 2040. These advancements not only have changed how we obtain energy but also point towards a sustainable and energetically diverse future.


Wind Energy

  • 2000-2010: The last decade marked the beginning of the wind energy climb. In 2000, the global generation capacity was approximately 17 gigawatts (GW). By 2010, this number had more than tripled, reaching around 60 GW.
  • 2010-2020: The following decade witnessed even more accelerated growth. The installed capacity of wind energy surpassed 600 GW in 2020, representing a tenfold increase in just a decade.


wind turbine


  • 2020-2030: Projections suggest that by 2030, the wind energy generation capacity will reach 1,400 GW, solidifying its position as an essential and dominant source.
  • Predictions until 2040: Experts estimate that by 2040, wind energy capacity could reach up to 2,500 GW, showcasing the ongoing expansion of this technology.


Solar Energy

  • 2000-2010: At the beginning of the century, solar energy was a fraction of the global capacity, with about 1 GW in 2000. By 2010, this number had grown to over 40 GW.
  • 2010-2020: The following decade saw an explosion in solar capacity, reaching around 650 GW in 2020, more than 16 times the value of 2010.
solar energy evolution
  • 2020-2030: Predictions suggest that by 2030, solar capacity could exceed 2,200 GW, establishing itself as a leading source of renewable energy.
  • Predictions until 2040: By 2040, solar energy could surpass 4,500 GW, representing extraordinary growth and increased dependence on this source.


  • 2000-2010: Hydropower has been a stable source during this period, modestly increasing from around 800 GW in 2000 to 1,000 GW in 2010.
  • 2010-2020: Although growth was more moderate compared to other sources, hydropower capacity reached approximately 1,300 GW in 2020.
  • 2020-2030: Projections indicate continuous growth, with hydropower capacity expected to reach 1,500 GW by 2030.

  • Predictions until 2040: By 2040, hydropower capacity is expected to reach 1,700 GW, maintaining its significant contribution to global energy generation.


The future of renewable energy

As we review the evolution of renewable energy capacities, it is evident that these sources are playing an increasingly crucial role in the global energy matrix. Predictions until 2040 point to an even more pronounced transition towards sustainability, with wind and solar energy leading the way. This shift not only represents an impressive technological achievement but also offers hope for a future where energy generation is clean, abundant, and accessible to all.



Contextualizing Power Output

To put these capacities into perspective, one gigawatt (GW) of electricity can, on average, power approximately 700,000 to 1,000,000 homes, depending on energy consumption patterns.

As we discuss the remarkable growth in renewable energy capacities, it's important to recognize their real-world impact in providing electricity to communities and contributing to a sustainable energy future.


The world must add an annual average of 1,000 gigawatts (GW) of renewable capacity between now and 2030 and increase the direct use of renewable energy in end-use sectors, according to the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA).

During 2022, the addition of 300 GW of new renewable installed capacity was achieved, which was a record according to the Agency's estimates, but it also assured that the gap between what has been achieved in this field and what is required has grown.



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