Countries have opportunity to plan for achieving global goal of tripling renewable power by 2030

IEA report finds countries’ ambitions and implementation plans are not yet in line with key goal set at COP28, but governments have tools to step up in coming months through NDC process

Official renewable energy commitments in NDCs currently amount to just 12 per cent of what is required to meet the global tripling objective. Jia You photo.

This article was published by the International Energy Agency on June 4, 2024.

New analysis from the International Energy Agency (IEA) finds that countries have a significant opportunity over the coming months to develop clear plans for boosting renewable power that could help move the world closer to achieving the COP28 goal of tripling global capacity by 2030.

COP28 Tripling Renewable Capacity Pledge: Tracking countries’ ambitions and identifying policies to bridge the gap, published today, finds that while renewable power is at the heart of achieving international energy and climate goals, very few countries have explicitly laid out 2030 targets for installed capacity in their existing Nationally Determined Contributions, or NDCs, under the Paris Agreement. Official commitments in NDCs currently amount to 1 300 gigawatts (GW) – just 12 per cent of what is required to meet the global tripling objective set in Dubai.

However, new country-by-country analysis by the IEA – covering nearly 150 countries worldwide – finds that governments’ domestic ambitions go much further, corresponding to almost 8 000 GW of global installed renewable capacity by 2030. This means that if countries were to include all their existing policies, plans and estimates in their new NDCs due next year – which will include revised ambitions for 2030 and new goals for 2035 – they would reflect 70 per cent of what is needed by 2030 to reach the tripling goal, which corresponds to 11 000 GW of installed renewable capacity globally.

This indicates ample scope for countries to bring their NDCs in line with their current domestic ambitions – though the report emphasizes that countries also need to accelerate implementation. At the same time, countries need to move their ambitions higher to align with the tripling goal.

“At COP28, nearly 200 countries pledged to triple the world’s renewable power capacity this decade, which is one of the critical actions to keep alive hopes of limiting global warming to 1.5 °C. This report makes clear that the tripling target is ambitious but achievable – though only if governments quickly turn promises into plans of action,” said IEA Executive Director Fatih Birol. “By delivering on the goals agreed at COP28 – including tripling renewables and doubling energy efficiency improvements by 2030 – countries worldwide have a major opportunity to accelerate progress towards a more secure, affordable and sustainable energy system. The IEA will continue to support governments around the world in efforts to achieve this.”

More countries are turning towards renewables such as solar PV and wind following a sharp drop in costs over the past decade and renewed efforts by governments to build resilient energy systems with lower emissions. According to the report, the amount of renewable capacity added worldwide each year has tripled since the Paris Agreement was signed in 2015. This is largely thanks to policy support, economies of scale and technological progress, which has driven down the cost of solar PV and wind by over 40 per cent over the same period and made them widely competitive with fossil fuels. Global renewable capacity additions reached almost 560 GW in 2023, an unprecedented 64 per cent year-over-year increase from 2022, to which China was by far the biggest contributor.

At the same time, key challenges remain, from lengthy wait times for project permits, inadequate investment in grid infrastructure, the need to quickly and cost-efficiently integrate variable renewables, and high financing costs, especially in emerging and developing economies. The report proposes targeted actions that countries can take to address these obstacles. For example, on reducing financing costs to improve the bankability of renewable projects, it suggests approaches such as improving long-term policy visibility; supporting projects in the pre-development phase; and reducing price, inflation and exchange rate risks.

The IEA played an important role in shaping the groundbreaking energy package that was agreed at COP28, and the Agency continues to comprehensively track progress towards these pledges – including as countries gear up to deliver the next round of NDCs under the Paris Agreement. With its data, analysis and policy recommendations, the IEA, at the request of governments, is committed to driving forward this next, crucial phase in the implementation of the Paris Agreement.

 

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