IEA urges countries to accelerate renewables deployment

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The IEA‘s latest report outlines countries' ambitions and implementation plans for renewable energy and notes that they are not aligned with the deployment goals set at COP28.

The COP28 Tripling Renewable Capacity Pledge: Tracking countries’ ambitions and identifying policies to bridge the gap, says only 14 of the 194 National Determined Contributions (NDCs) explicitly lay out 2030 targets for renewables capacity. The commitments equate to 1,300 GW of renewables by 2030 – 12% of the 11,000 GW required to meet the global tripling objective set at COP28 in Dubai. China accounts for almost 90% of this NDC total, having explicitly set a goal of 1,200 GW of wind and solar by the end of the decade.

The IEA reported that governments' domestic ambitions for renewables surpass NDCs. An analysis of policies, plans, and estimates of almost 150 countries revealed an intention to install nearly 8,000 GW of renewables worldwide by 2030, representing 70% of the required amount to achieve the tripling goal by 2030.

To reach the 11 GW, the IEA said the pace of deployment “needs to accelerate” in most regions and most countries, including the European Union, the United States and India. The report noted the need for more deployment in Southeast Asia, the Middle East, North Africa, and Sub-Saharan Africa. It identified China's renewables expansion as crucial to meeting the 11 GW target, with the country now on track to exceed its 2030 targets by 2.5 times.

“This report makes clear that the tripling target is ambitious but achievable – though only if governments quickly turn promises into plans of action,” said IEA Executive Director Fatih Birol. “By delivering on the goals agreed at COP28 – including tripling renewables and doubling energy efficiency improvements by 2030 – countries worldwide have a major opportunity to accelerate progress towards a more secure, affordable and sustainable energy system.”

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The report said that annual renewable capacity additions have tripled since the Paris Agreement was signed in 2015. The IEA attributed this to policy support, economies of scale and technological progress.

Solar accounts for half of the future capacity explicitly identified by governments across the world, the IEA said. It predicted that if countries meet their ambitions for 2030, installed solar capacity would surpass hydropower as the world’s largest source of installed renewable capacity.

The report identified the main challenges for renewables deployment, including lengthy permit wait times, insufficient investment in grid infrastructure, the need for quick and cost-efficient integration of variable renewables, and high financing costs, particularly in emerging and developing economies. It called for lower financing costs to improve the bankability of renewable projects and support projects in the pre-development phase.

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

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