Globally, the growth of renewable energy capacity is expected to double by 2027, adding as much renewable energy in the next five years as in the past two decades, the International Energy Agency announced on Tuesday. ‘energy.
Renewables are expected to overtake coal as the main source of electricity generation by early 2025, according to the report, a trend driven in large part by the global energy crisis linked to the war in Ukraine.
“This is a clear example of how the current energy crisis can be a historic turning point towards a cleaner and more secure energy system,” IEA executive director Fatih Birol said in a press release.
The expansion of renewable energy over the next five years will happen much faster than the agency predicted just a year ago in its last annual report, said IEA senior analyst Heymi Bahar. and one of the main authors of the report. The report revised up last year’s renewable energy growth forecast by 30% after the introduction of new policies by some of the world’s largest emitters, such as the European Union, the United States and the United States. China.
Although there has been a resurgence in wartime fossil fuel consumption as European countries rush to replace Russia’s gas after its invasion of Ukraine in February, the effects are likely to be short-lived. duration, the agency said.
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Instead, over the next five years, the global energy crisis is expected to accelerate the growth of renewables as countries adopt low-emission technologies in response to soaring fossil fuel prices, including wind turbines. , solar panels, nuclear power plants, hydrogen fuels, electric vehicles. and electric heat pumps. Heating and cooling buildings using renewable energy is one of the areas that needs greater improvement, according to the report.
The United States this year passed the Curbing Inflation Act, a landmark climate and tax law that, among many investments to reduce global warming greenhouse gas emissions, has led to an expansion “unforeseen” long-term tax credits for solar and wind projects extending to 2032, Bahar said. Previously, these tax credits had been revised a few years at a time. Extending credits to 2032 provides greater certainty for investors, which is important in the energy sector, Bahar said.
China alone is expected to install nearly half of the world’s new renewable energy capacity in the next five years, based on targets set in the country’s new five-year plan. Even still, the country is accelerating coal mining and production in coal-fired power plants.
The recent boost in renewable energy growth is not enough to help the world limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit) above pre-industrial levels, said Doug Vine, director of energy analysis at the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions. The target was set by the historic Paris climate agreement in 2015; beyond this threshold, scientists say the risk of climate catastrophe, including deadly heat waves and coastal flooding, increases dramatically.
Scientists have calculated that to meet the 1.5 degrees Celsius target, countries would need to reduce or offset all carbon dioxide emissions by 2050. “We’re still not there,” Mr. Bahar, but the agency’s new report says narrowing the gap is “within the scope of government policies and actions.
The main obstacles in wealthy countries are lengthy permit procedures and a lack of network infrastructure upgrades and expansion, according to the report. Some European countries have made progress on this front, including Germany, which has reduced permitting times, and Spain, which has streamlined permits and increased grid capacity for renewable energy projects.
For low-income countries, the report says, the challenge is both weak grid infrastructure and lack of access to affordable financing for renewable energy projects, which require higher upfront costs. both for capital and for maintenance and operation. High interest rates on loans are often a barrier for many low-income countries that are the most vulnerable but least responsible for climate change.
At the UN climate conference held last month in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, many world leaders called for the overhaul of two powerful financial institutions, the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund. , which represent a global financial system that leaders say disadvantages poorer countries. If implemented, proponents say, the reforms could offer struggling countries lower interest rates and enable financial institutions to attract billions of dollars in private capital to help those countries transition to renewable energy. .
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