IEA urges countries to speed up deployment of renewable energy

Jun 14, 2024

The world may not be able to achieve the target of expanding global renewable energy capacity to 11,000 GW by 2030, as agreed at COP28, according to a new report from the International Energy Agency (IEA). The report also predicts that solar power will surpass hydropower to account for the largest share of the world's installed renewable energy capacity.


The latest IEA report outlines countries' renewable energy ambitions and implementation plans, and points out that they are inconsistent with the deployment targets set at COP28.


The report, titled "COP28 Renewable Energy Capacity Triple Commitments: Tracking Countries' Ambitions and Identifying Policies to Close the Gap," notes that only 14 of the 194 Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) submitted by countries explicitly set renewable energy capacity targets for 2030. These commitments amount to 1,300 GW of renewable energy by 2030, which is only 12% of the 11,000 GW needed to achieve the global renewable energy capacity tripling target set at COP28 in Dubai. China accounts for nearly 90% of the total NDC, with an explicit target of 1,200 GW of wind and solar by the end of the decade.


The IEA report says governments are setting domestic renewable energy ambitions that exceed NDCs. Its analysis of policies, plans and estimates for nearly 150 countries shows that the world will install nearly 8,000 GW of renewable energy by 2030, accounting for 70% of the capacity needed to achieve the triple target by 2030.


To reach 11,000 GW, most regions and countries, including the European Union, the United States and India, “need to accelerate” deployment, the IEA said. Southeast Asia, the Middle East, North Africa and sub-Saharan Africa need to increase deployment, the report said. The report also noted that China’s renewable energy expansion is critical to achieving the 11,000 GW target, with the country on track to exceed its 2030 target by 2.5 times so far.


“This report clearly shows that the ambitious goal of tripling renewable energy capacity is achievable – though only if governments quickly translate their commitments into action plans,” said Fatih Birol, Executive Director of the International Energy Agency. “By achieving the targets agreed at COP28, including tripling renewable energy capacity and doubling energy efficiency by 2030, countries around the world have a major opportunity to accelerate the build-out of a more reliable, affordable and sustainable energy system.”


The report says that since the signing of the Paris Agreement in 2015, annual new renewable energy capacity has tripled. The IEA attributes this to policy support, economies of scale and technological progress.


Solar energy accounts for half of the future capacity that governments have explicitly set, the IEA revealed. It predicts that once countries meet their 2030 targets, solar will surpass hydropower to become the world’s largest source of installed renewable energy capacity.


The report also identifies key challenges to renewable energy deployment, including long approval wait times, insufficient investment in grid infrastructure, the need to integrate variable renewables quickly and efficiently, and high financing costs, especially for emerging and developing economies. It called for lower financing costs to improve the bankability of renewable energy projects and for project support in the early development stages.


In April, the IEA called for a sixfold increase in global energy storage capacity to help meet global targets by 2030.

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