Tripling Global Renewable Energy Capacity by 2030 a Challenge: IEA

China alone accounts for over 90% of the renewable capacity mentioned in NDCs

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The COP28 Tripling Renewable Capacity Pledge aims to triple the global renewable energy capacity from its current levels, targeting over 11,000 GW of installed capacity by the decade’s end.

However, according to the International Energy Agency (IEA), the road to achieving this goal is fraught with challenges and requires unprecedented international cooperation and policy support.

Renewables 2022 vs 2030

Current Progress and Shortfalls

As of 2023, the global renewable capacity additions reached almost 560 GW, a 64% increase from 2022. This impressive growth aligns with the annual pace needed to achieve nearly 8,000 GW of installed capacity by 2030, reflecting various countries’ current policies, plans, and estimates. However, despite this progress, the world remains 30% short of the tripling target of 11,000 GW.

Among the 194 Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) submitted, only 14 include explicit targets for total renewable power capacity for 2030. The combined ambitions of these NDCs amount to just over 1,300 GW, which is only 12% of the required capacity to meet the tripling pledge. China alone accounts for over 90% of the renewable capacity mentioned in NDCs, with its goal of 1,200 GW of solar PV and wind capacity by 2030.

Regional Contributions

An analysis of policies, plans, and estimates from almost 150 countries, which account for nearly all global emissions from power generation and heat production, indicate that achieving their current ambitions would result in approximately 8,000 GW of global installed renewable capacity by 2030. Solar PV and wind energy dominate these ambitions, with solar PV expected to represent 50% of the capacity and wind 26%.

China continues to lead in renewable capacity installations, adding almost 350 GW of new renewable capacity in 2023, more than half the global total. If China maintains this pace, it will likely significantly surpass its 2030 ambitions. However, the rest of the world must accelerate its annual growth by 36% to meet national aspirations.

India’s Role

India, the third-largest national renewable energy market, is critical in this global endeavor. The country aims to have 500 GW of non-fossil fuel capacity, including about 485 GW of renewables, by 2030, a 2.6-fold increase from 2022 levels. This ambitious target is part of India’s broader strategy to expand its renewable energy infrastructure significantly.

India is focusing on developing hybrid renewable power projects, large auction volumes, and repowering existing wind farms to achieve these goals. These measures aim to address challenges such as land availability and system integration, which are critical for scaling up renewable capacity efficiently.

Advanced Economies and Policy Recommendations

Advanced economies are expected to nearly double their renewable capacity by 2030, contributing almost 40% to the global ambition. The 2030 targets of the Asia-Pacific region, led by India and Japan, constitute 15% of the global total. Japan, for instance, plans to achieve a 36-38% renewable electricity generation share, translating to 187-201 GW of capacity.

To meet these ambitious goals, well-designed policies are crucial. The report highlights several policy recommendations to overcome common challenges, such as lengthy permit processes, inadequate grid infrastructure, and high financing costs. These include:

  • Streamlining Permitting: Simplifying rules, procedures, and administrative structures to reduce permit wait times.
  • Accelerating Integration of Variable Renewables: Incentivizing power system flexibility, developing energy storage capacity, and leveraging digitalization.
  • Reducing Financing Costs: Providing long-term policy visibility, supporting pre-development phase projects, and mitigating financial risks.

The COP28 Tripling Renewable Capacity Pledge is a pivotal step towards a sustainable future, but achieving it requires significant effort and collaboration. Countries must accelerate deployment, enhance policy frameworks, and leverage technological advancements to bridge the implementation gaps. India’s robust plans and China’s rapid growth are encouraging, but global success hinges on widespread and coordinated action across all regions.

As the world progresses towards this ambitious goal, the improving cost competitiveness of renewables compared to fossil fuels, driven by policy support, economies of scale, and technological progress, will play a vital role. Since the Paris Agreement in 2015, global renewable capacity additions have tripled, demonstrating the potential for even greater achievements with the right strategies in place.

According to a report by IEA and International Finance Corporation, to meet the growing energy demand while aligning with the goals of the Paris Agreement, the annual investment in clean energy will have to increase by more than triple from $770 billion in 2022 to approximately $2.2-2.8 trillion per year by early 2030.

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