An IEA Report: Bracing Global Renewable Energy Plans by 2030

The International Energy Agency (IEA) recently published a report highlighting the substantial opportunity for countries worldwide to establish robust plans to triple global renewable energy capacity by 2030. The report underscores that while many countries have set ambitious targets, their current implementation plans are insufficient to meet the critical goals established at COP28.

The International Energy Agency (IEA) says governments must possess the necessary tools to enhance their efforts through the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC) process in the coming months.

The report, titled “COP28 Tripling Renewable Capacity Pledge: Tracking Countries’ Ambitions and Identifying Policies to Bridge the Gap,” reveals that renewable energy is central to achieving international energy and climate objectives.

However, only a few countries have explicitly defined 2030 targets for installed renewable capacity in their NDCs under the Paris Agreement. Present commitments in NDCs account for just 1,300 gigawatts (GW) of renewable capacity, which is merely 12% of the requirement to meet the global tripling objective set in Dubai.

According to Dr. Katye Altieri, an analyst at global energy think tank Ember, the renewables revolution will transform the world in the next five years evidenced by Governments already planning a major step up in renewables.

Dr. Katye further pointed out how the latest year of record growth brings the tripling goal within reach and should give leaders the confidence to upgrade their targets further in their NDCs.

Current NDCs do not accurately represent countries’ actual ambition, and more will be needed to make up the gap to tripling. The next round of updated NDCs provides a big opportunity to solidify, and more importantly, increase existing 2030 renewable capacity ambitions to meet the global tripling goal,” said Dr. Katye.

Despite this, the IEA’s analysis of nearly 150 countries shows that domestic ambitions could lead to approximately 8,000 GW of global renewable capacity by 2030. This suggests that if countries integrate their existing policies, plans, and estimates into their new NDCs, they could achieve 70% of the necessary capacity to reach the tripling goal, which equates to 11,000 GW globally. The IEA report highlights the potential for countries to align their NDCs with their current ambitions but also stresses the need for accelerated implementation and elevated goals.

IEA Executive Director Fatih Birol stressed that at COP28, nearly 200 countries pledged to triple the world’s renewable power capacity this decade, a critical action to maintain the goal of limiting global warming to 1.5°C.

This report demonstrates that the tripling target is ambitious but achievable if governments swiftly convert promises into actionable plans,” said Fatih.

The IEA report also notes the growing shift towards renewables like solar PV and wind, driven by significant cost reductions over the past decade and governmental efforts to build resilient, low-emission energy systems. Since the Paris Agreement in 2015, annual renewable capacity additions have tripled, supported by policy measures, economies of scale, and technological advancements. In 2023, global renewable capacity additions reached almost 560 GW, a 64% increase from 2022, with China leading the contributions.

However, challenges such as lengthy project permit wait times, insufficient grid infrastructure investment, the need for efficient integration of variable renewables, and high financing costs—especially in emerging economies—persist.

The IEA report recommends targeted actions to address these issues, including enhancing long-term policy visibility, supporting pre-development phase projects, and mitigating risks related to price, inflation, and exchange rates.

Wafa Misrar, Policy & Campaigns Coordinator, CAN Africa said that nearly 200 countries made significant energy pledges at COP28 in Dubai to keep the Paris Agreement goal of limiting global warming to 1.5°C within reach.

Emphasizing that now the attention has shifted to implementation, nations must update their Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) to triple renewable energy capacity. Revealing that while announced plans exceed current NDC commitments, they still fall short of the global tripling target.

According to the IEA report, current ambitions aim for nearly 8,000 GW of renewable power globally by 2030, focusing on solar PV and wind, though hydropower, bioenergy, and other renewables are often overlooked. The second chapter, which outlines key policy priorities to bridge the implementation gap, was particularly insightful,” said Wafa.

The IEA played a pivotal role in shaping the energy package agreed upon at COP28 and continues to monitor progress toward these commitments. With its comprehensive data, analysis, and policy recommendations, the IEA remains dedicated to driving the implementation of the Paris Agreement forward at the request of governments.

Key points in the IEA Report:

  • The world now invests almost twice as much in clean energy as it does in fossil fuels
  • Total energy investment worldwide is expected to exceed $3 trillion in 2024 for the first time
    • $2 trillion set to go toward clean technologies – including renewables, electric vehicles, nuclear power, grids, storage, low-emissions fuels, efficiency improvements and heat pumps
    • The remainder, slightly over $1 trillion, is going to coal, gas and oil
  • There are major imbalances in investment – Emerging Market and Developing Economies (EMDE) outside China account for only around 15% of global clean energy spending
  • Power sector investment in solar photovoltaic (PV) technology is projected to exceed USD 500 billion in 2024, surpassing all other generation sources combined
  • In 2023, combined investment in renewable power and grids overtook the amount spent on fossil fuels for the first time
  • In 2015, the ratio of clean power to unabated fossil fuel power investments was roughly 2:1, in 2024, this ratio is set to reach 10:1
  • The integration of renewables and upgrades to existing infrastructure have sparked a recovery in spending on grids and storage
  • Investments in battery storage are ramping up and are set to exceed USD 50 billion in 2024. But spending is highly concentrated in developed countries and China
  • In the United States, investment in clean energy will increase to an estimated more than USD 300 billion in 2024, 1.6 times the 2020 level and well ahead of the amount invested in fossil fuels
  • Overall upstream oil and gas investment in 2024 is set to return to 2017 levels, but companies in the Middle East and Asia now account for a much larger share of the total
  • Newly approved LNG projects, led by the United States and Qatar, bring a new wave of investment that could boost global LNG export capacity by 50%
  • China is set to account for the largest share of clean energy investment in 2024, reaching an estimated $675 billion

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