June 22, 2024
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Climate change: Tripling Renewable Energy Capacity by 2030 Faces Hurdles – IEA

In a bid to combat climate change and reduce reliance on fossil fuels, the world aims to triple its renewable energy capacity by 2030. However, a new report by the International Energy Agency (IEA) highlights significant obstacles to achieving this ambitious goal.

The report, titled “COP28 Tripling Renewable Capacity Pledge: Tracking Countries’ Ambitions and Identifying Policies to Bridge the Gap,” noted that while current renewable energy projects are advancing, the pace must increase to meet the targets set by the Paris Agreement. This agreement seeks to limit global warming to well below 2 degrees Celsius and calls for a substantial increase in renewable energy sources like wind, solar, and hydroelectric power.

The report revealed that few countries have explicitly laid out 2030 targets for installed capacity in their existing Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) under the Paris Agreement. Official commitments in NDCs currently amount to 1,300 gigawatts (GW), which is just 12 percent of what is required to meet the global tripling objective set in Dubai.

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Fatih Birol, Executive Director of the IEA, stated: “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.”

Birol emphasized that achieving the goals agreed at COP28, including tripling renewables and doubling energy efficiency improvements by 2030, offers a significant opportunity to progress towards a more secure, affordable, and sustainable energy system. The IEA will continue to support governments globally in their efforts to meet these objectives.

The report also highlights a positive trend: more countries are turning to renewables like solar PV and wind due to a significant drop in costs over the past decade and renewed governmental efforts to build resilient, low-emission energy systems. Since the Paris Agreement in 2015, the annual addition of renewable capacity worldwide has tripled, thanks to policy support, economies of scale, and technological advancements. These factors have driven down the cost of solar PV and wind by over 40 percent, making them widely competitive with fossil fuels.

In 2023, global renewable capacity additions reached almost 560 GW, marking an unprecedented 64 percent year-over-year increase from 2022, with China being the largest contributor.

However, key challenges remain, such as lengthy wait times for project permits, inadequate investment in grid infrastructure, the need to integrate variable renewables quickly and cost-effectively, and high financing costs, particularly in emerging and developing economies.

The report suggests targeted actions for countries to address these obstacles, including improving long-term policy visibility, supporting projects in the pre-development phase, and reducing risks related to price, inflation, and exchange rates to enhance the bankability of renewable projects.

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