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Countries set to triple renewable energy capacity: Ember analysis

Energy think tank Ember has analyzed national targets and found that governments are already planning to double renewable capacity by 2030.

By Ground Report
New Update
COP28: List of countries pledging to triple their renewable capacity

Energy think tank Ember has analyzed national targets and found that governments are already planning to double renewable capacity by 2030.

The report reveals that numerous countries are already on course to surpass their national objectives, and tripling global renewables is entirely feasible with increased ambition.

The study examines renewable targets for 57 nations, along with the EU, which together account for 90% of global power sector emissions. Based on these targets, it is projected that global renewable capacity will reach approximately 7.3 TW by 2030, more than doubling from 3.4 TW in 2022. Solar and wind are expected to account for over three-quarters of renewable capacity in 2030.

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Interestingly, the current surge in renewables is already exceeding the growth planned by governments. The world could double its renewable capacity simply by maintaining the deployment achieved in 2023 throughout the rest of the decade. However, all indicators suggest an even steeper growth trajectory. If the growth rate of 17% achieved since 2016 continues throughout this decade, the world could be on track to triple its renewable capacity.

Renewables supercharged

In 2023, renewables set another record, according to the forecast of the International Energy Agency, which predicts 500 GW of additions in 2023, a 71% increase from the previous year. Solar will dominate the growth this year, with more installations projected for 2023 than the entire renewable capacity of the US. An even more rapid expansion in the manufacturing capacity of solar panels, which doubled in just two years, facilitated this. Experts anticipate this to exceed 1,000 GW in 2024.

Ember's analysis finds that current national targets do not account for this recent acceleration of renewables. It also reveals that 22 countries already exceed their 2030 target with the renewable energy projects currently in development. Additionally, 12 countries, including Brazil, are building renewables at a faster pace than required to meet their 2030 target. In fact, Brazil is set to install almost three times more renewable capacity in 2023 than its annual construction target until 2030.

Dr Katye Altieri, Ember’s global analyst, commented, "Today's targets have already become outdated and we need to update them. Governments have not yet understood the revolution that is taking place with renewables. As we move towards COP28, leaders should confidently support a global goal of tripling renewables; achieving this seems more possible than ever before."

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Ingrid Behrsin, Global Energy Monitor Program Director for Renewables & Other Power, said, "We know that there's a potential explosion of wind and solar capacity, but we don't know whether ambition will match this potential. Governments need to double down, put their full weight behind renewables projects in development and lead a just energy transition for all, before it's too late."

Achieving a tripling of renewables

"The president of COP28, building on evidence from the International Energy Agency (IEA) and the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), has called for a global agreement to triple renewable capacity by 2030. An analysis from Ember identifies a gap of 3.7 TW between collective national targets and the requirement of a global tripling (11 TW), which must be addressed through accelerated deployment and increased ambition."

The analysis finds that some countries do have ambitious targets in place. Ten countries, including India, already aim to triple their renewable capacity. Twelve countries have wind and solar share targets that exceed the global goal of 40% by 2030, including the United States. A further 20 countries plan to shift more than 20% of their electricity mix from fossil fuels to renewables by 2030, including South Africa.

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However, the report highlights particular countries that could step up their targets, including Australia, Japan, South Korea and the United Arab Emirates, which are already on track to exceed their targets and are among the world’s highest power sector emitters per capita.

“Tripling renewable capacity worldwide is the single biggest action required this decade for the climate,” continued Dr Altieri. “This goal is within sight if governments set targets that reflect the current pace of change and roll out robust new policies to supercharge the building of solar and wind power.”

Current Targets and Progress

Bruce Douglas, CEO of the Global Renewables Alliance said, “A global energy transition that accelerates global renewable energy capacity to at least 11,000 GW by 2030 is the fastest and most cost-efficient way to build a clean, secure and just future. 

“Ember’s report, Tracking National Ambition Towards A Global Tripling Of Renewables, shows clearly that current deployment rates won’t do -  countries can and must increase their ambition and update their national targets.

"Increasing ambition, combined with taking urgent action on the financing, permitting, grids, and supply chains can deliver cleaner electricity systems, access to affordable energy, and green jobs for millions of people. Also, unlocking billions of dollars in public and private capital would reduce loss and damage for nature and people, caused by harmful climate change."

Countries have set targets to increase renewable energy sources like solar and wind. But these targets are not enough to limit global warming to 1.5C. They also underestimate how fast renewable energy is growing.

  • Renewable energy can help the world fight climate change and pollution. It can also lower energy bills, create jobs, and improve energy security. It is a big goal, but it is worth it.

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