The world added 50% more renewable capacity in 2023 than in 2022 –and that means it has a real chance of achieving the goal set by governments at the COP28 climate change conference of tripling global capacity by 2030.
The amount of renewable energy capacity added to energy systems around the world reached almost 510 gigawatts (GW), with solar accounting for 75% of additions, according to the International Energy Agency’s (IEA) latest edition of the annual “Renewables 2023” report released today.
The largest growth took place in China, which commissioned as much solar in 2023 as the entire world did in 2022, while China’s wind power additions rose by 66% year-over-year. The increases in renewable energy capacity in the US, Europe, and Brazil also hit all-time highs.
What’s more, the next five years will see the fastest growth yet. The report shows that under existing policies and market conditions, global renewable power capacity is now expected to grow to 7,300 GW over the 2023-28 period covered by the forecast. Solar and wind account for 95% of the expansion, with renewables overtaking coal to become the largest source of global electricity generation by early 2025.
But despite the unprecedented growth over the past 12 months, the world needs to go further to triple renewable capacity by 2030 – something world governments agreed to do at COP28.
IEA executive director Fatih Birol said:
This report is the first key installment of the IEA’s follow-up work on the energy outcomes of COP28 that will continue throughout 2024 and beyond.
This is based on the five key pillars we set out ahead of COP28 and covers tripling renewables, doubling energy efficiency, cutting methane emissions, transitioning away from fossil fuels, and scaling up financing for emerging and developing economies.
We will be following very closely to see whether countries are delivering on their promises and implementing appropriate policies.
Birol said that “success will hinge” on scaling up financing for emerging and developing economies.
Dave Jones, program director at global energy think tank Ember, offered up his thoughts about the IEA’s report:
The twin COP28 goals of a tripling of global renewables and a doubling [of] energy efficiency could help push energy CO2 emissions down by 35% by 2030. This means we are increasingly on track not only for a peaking of fossil fuel use this decade, but for sizeable falls in fossil fuel use.
This is at odds with the huge investment planned by the oil and gas industry, fueled by the superprofits of the energy crisis, which is creating a chasm between [the] outlook for demand and the outlook for supply. 2024 will be the year renewables change from a nuisance for the fossil fuel industry to an existential threat.
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Author: Michelle Lewis