National growth dynamics of wind and solar power compared to the growth required for global climate targets
Journal article, 2021

Climate mitigation scenarios envision considerable growth of wind and solar power, but scholars disagree on how this growth compares with historical trends. Here we fit growth models to wind and solar trajectories to identify countries in which growth has already stabilized after the initial acceleration. National growth has followed S-curves to reach maximum annual rates of 0.8% (interquartile range of 0.6–1.1%) of the total electricity supply for onshore wind and 0.6% (0.4–0.9%) for solar. In comparison, one-half of 1.5 °C-compatible scenarios envision global growth of wind power above 1.3% and of solar power above 1.4%, while one-quarter of these scenarios envision global growth of solar above 3.3% per year. Replicating or exceeding the fastest national growth globally may be challenging because, so far, countries that introduced wind and solar power later have not achieved higher maximum growth rates, despite their generally speedier progression through the technology adoption cycle.


Aleh Cherp

Central European University

Lund University

Vadim Vinichenko

University of Bergen

Jale Tosun

Heidelberg University

Joel A. Gordon

Central European University

Cranfield University

Jessica Jewell

Chalmers, Space, Earth and Environment, Physical Resource Theory

University of Bergen

International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis

Nature Energy

20587546 (eISSN)

Vol. 6 7 742-754

Driving Forces

Sustainable development

Subject Categories

Meteorology and Atmospheric Sciences

Energy Systems

Other Electrical Engineering, Electronic Engineering, Information Engineering

Areas of Advance




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