World’s eight major economies to double renewable energy capacity by 2030, WRI finds

Analysis published yesterday by the Washington-based World Resources Institute (WRI) has found that renewable energy supply will double in eight of the world’s major economies by 2030, surpassing previously projected growth rates for clean energy deployment by as much as 18%.

The WRI report, Assessing the Post-2020 Clean Energy Landscape, finds that eight of the ten leading emitters of greenhouse gases (GHG) – Brazil, China, the EU, India, Indonesia, Japan, Mexico and the U.S. – will cumulatively reach 20,000 TWh of renewable energy capacity by 2030, up from just 9,000 TWh in 2012.

The increase, equivalent to all of India’s current energy demand, is a doubling of current capacity when averaged out across the eight economies, but for some countries the actual increase of clean power is set to be much higher.

The WRI report finds that Brazil is on course to hit 45% renewable capacity by 2030, with the U.S. set to hit 20% of renewables, minus hydropower, by that date. The EU’s pledge to have 27% clean energy capacity by 2030 is realistic, the report adds, while China and Japan will source 20% and 22-24% of their power from renewable sources by 2030, respectively.

Canada and Russia, the remaining two emitters from the top ten economies not included in the report, are yet to put forward their post-2020 climate goals for the forthcoming UN talks in Paris, and thus were not assessed in the report.

In breaking down the 127 Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs) so far pledged ahead of the Paris talks, the WRI found that 80% of them mention clean energy, with five countries in particular – Brazil, India, Japan, Mexico and the U.S. – set to increase their combined capacity of renewables to 856 GW by 2030, which is a four-fold increase on 2012 figures.

"These new renewable energy targets send strong signals to energy markets and investment circles," said WRI global director, climate program, Jennifer Morgan. "Combined with the Paris climate agreement, it’s clear that renewable energy is poised to surge forward in the next 15 years, bringing clean and affordable power to millions of people worldwide."

The WRI report was published at the same time as a UN study that found that despite the efforts and pledges of nations involved in the climate talks, global emission reductions are likely to be half that required to ensure the earth’s average temperature does not rise beyond the ‘safe’ 2c threshold agreed by leading climate scientists.