It is possible to triple clean electricity by 2030: International Energy Agency | News about the climate crisis

The global goal of tripling electricity production from clean sources such as solar and wind by 2030 is “ambitious but achievable”, says the world’s leading independent energy analyst.

Nearly 200 countries, including the world’s biggest polluters, committed to achieving that goal in Dubai last December under the auspices of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

This and an accompanying commitment to doubling energy efficiency over the next six years are designed to keep the world’s average temperature no more than 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit) warmer than in pre-industrial times.

UN Climate Change Executive Secretary Simon Stiell hailed the deal as “the beginning of the end” of the fossil fuel era.

In a new report published on Tuesday, the International Energy Agency (IEA) says that while official commitments cover only 12 percent of the target at the moment, its internal ambitions go further, covering 70 percent of the target and putting them within his reach.

According to the IEA, half of the newly installed renewable energy capacity would come from solar panels, another quarter from wind turbines and the rest from sources such as geothermal and hydroelectric energy.

“If all ambitions were achieved, global installed renewable capacity would be 2.2 times the 2022 level by 2030,” the report says.

Solar and wind power have driven a surge in renewables in recent years, a trend exacerbated by Russia’s war in Ukraine and the rising cost of oil and gas in 2022.

Geopolitical risk and market fluctuations have convinced many countries to increase their energy autonomy. In March, for example, the UK Labor Party pledged to float 5 gigawatts of offshore wind farm capacity if it wins the next election.

Ember, a global energy think tank, found last month that renewables expanded by an average of 3.5 percent a year over the past decade, compared with 1.5 percent a year in the previous decade. as the prices of photovoltaic panels and wind turbines fell and their productivity soared.

National plans were estimated to put the world on track to double renewable energy by 2030.

“The renewable energy revolution will transform the world in the next five years,” Katye Altieri, an analyst at Ember, told Al Jazeera.

“China is on track to exceed its current targets, on track to multiply them by 2.5 by 2030. Brazil and Chile have major plans to increase solar and wind capacity, and Chile plans to increase renewables by a factor of 2.5. “Germany plans to multiply renewable energy by 2.4 and joins Spain among the top three world leaders in wind energy expansion plans.”

“Difficult to achieve”

Not everyone believes that the nationally announced ambitions, which represent the bulk of the IEA’s forecasts, will become international commitments.

“Countries are starting to revise their ambitions downwards, seeing that these goals are practically difficult to achieve,” Michalis Mathioulakis, academic director of the Greek Energy Forum think tank, told Al Jazeera.

“Capacity is not just more wind turbines and solar panels. It also means improved networking and storage, and this requires huge amounts of money,” Mathioulakis said. “The EU says we need an investment of 600 billion euros ($652 billion) in networks alone by 2030 to absorb and distribute new energy from renewables. So I don’t think this IEA estimate will come true.”

Representatives of the EU renewable energy industry are also skeptical about the role Europe will play in tripling global electricity capacity.

The European Union wants 45 percent of all energy consumption – not just electricity – to come from renewables by 2030. In 2022, that figure was half.

“Meeting the new target will require more than doubling the renewable energy deployment rates seen over the last decade, and requires a profound transformation of the European energy system,” said Christoph Zipf, spokesperson for Wind Europe, a representative of the wind energy industry. in Brussels.

“For wind energy, this target translates into doubling current installed capacity: from 220 GW today to 425 GW in 2030,” Zipf told Al Jazeera.

“But EU countries are currently only installing half the new annual wind capacity they need to achieve this target. “Our current modeling shows that if governments deliver on their wind energy promises and invest massively in the supporting infrastructure, the goal (of doubling) is within reach… Europe will not triple wind energy by 2030.”

The Green Tank, an Athens-based think tank, believed the IEA forecast was achievable but inconsistent with existing plans to keep 846 gas-fired power plants in Europe operational indefinitely. Only seven are scheduled for closure and 71 new ones are planned.

“Plans to increase fossil gas capacity in several EU member states, including Greece, do not make sense,” Green Tank director Nikos Mantzaris told Al Jazeera. “All available funds, private or public, should be directed to supporting faster penetration of renewables through investments in grids, energy storage and demand-side response technologies.”

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