Industry: IEA ‘laying down a gauntlet’ for action with latest report

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on reddit
Share on email
The IEA’s net zero pathway requires annual solar PV and wind installs to reach more than 1TW in 2030. Image: Sempra Energy.

Calling for a three-fold increase in renewables investment in the next decade, the International Energy Agency’s (IEA) latest edition of its World Energy Outlook, published today, has been largely welcomed by analysts and industry observers, who are urging world leaders to respond accordingly at the COP26 Climate Change Conference.

The IEA said its latest World Energy Outlook makes it clear that current clean energy progress is “still far too slow” to put global emissions into a decline towards net zero, highlighting the need for an “unmistakable signal of ambition and action from governments” at the conference, which starts in Glasgow later this month.

By showing that current policies fall short of getting global warming in check by 2030, the IEA is “laying down a clear gauntlet for action on climate”, said Simon Cran-McGreehin, head of analysis at non-profit organisation the Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit.

“Continuing global dependence on fossil fuels is exposing the UK and the rest of the world to ongoing energy price volatility, which could be avoided – along with destructive temperature rises – if bold decisions are taken over the next few weeks.”

The report finds that clean energy investment would need to double in the 2020s to be consistent with limiting the rise in global average temperatures to “well below 2 °C” and it would need to more than triple in order to keep the door open to a 1.5 °C stabilisation.

Solar PV and wind are set to more than double their combined current share of electricity generation over the next decade in two of the IEA’s scenarios and quadruple it in another, the net zero emissions pathway, which would see around 4.96TW of solar PV deployed globally in 2030.

Showing that electricity sector decarbonisation is the biggest single lever for closing the 2030 ambition gap for 1.5C, the report makes clear the urgency of working towards clean power, said Dave Jones, global programme lead at think tank Ember, which itself warned earlier this year that solar projects are not being built quickly enough to keep pace with rising electricity demand.

“COP26 will be defined by what commitments are forthcoming for 2030, so the fact that the power sector is where the biggest gap lies means COP commitments for 2030 need to address clean power head-on,” Jones said.

Some 70% of the additional spending required to put the world on a path to net zero is needed in emerging economies, according to the IEA, which said although there have been some successes of developing markets mobilising capital for clean energy – such as India financing a rapid expansion of solar PV in pursuit of its 450GW target for renewables by 2030 – there have also been persistent challenges, many of which have been exacerbated by the pandemic.

The net zero pathway would need annual solar PV and wind additions of more than 1TW in 2030, the report finds, with ambitions needed to be “raised significantly” in emerging markets to make this happen.  

“What is really interesting about the report is the focus on action in relation to emerging and developing economies,” said Michael Burns, energy partner at law firm Ashurst, adding that a multilateral approach “is going to be needed to support emerging and developing economies with access to the capital and other support that is required to put them in a position where the required level of change can become a reality”.

Read Next

PV Tech Premium
October 28, 2021
With the crucial COP26 summit just days away, PV Tech Premium breaks down the key players and countries for solar to watch at the event
October 27, 2021
India installed around 8,811MW of solar between January and September 2021, a 280% increase on the same period of 2020, according to JMK Research & Analytics.
October 25, 2021
Global renewables industries are expectant as COP26 looms, however supply chain volatility has continued to dent deployment prospects going into a crucial decade. We discuss this and much more in this month's Solar Media Podcast.
October 25, 2021
The Cabinet of Japan’s government has approved a plan to raise the national target for renewable energy in the electricity generation mix to between 36% and 38% by 2030. 
October 20, 2021
South Korean clean energy company SK E&S has invested US$300-400 million in LS Power’s newly launched REV Renewables that will accelerate the expansion of its portfolio of renewable power and energy storage projects.
October 19, 2021
Lightsource bp has announced its entry into Poland’s solar market through a co-development deal which will see the developer proceed with a 757MWp pipeline in the country.

Subscribe to Newsletter

Upcoming Events

Upcoming Webinars
November 10, 2021
8am (PST) | 5pm (CET)
Solar Media Events
December 1, 2021