World must add 1,000 gigawatts of renewable power capacity annually by 2030, Irena says

Abu Dhabi-based agency calls for greater adoption of clean energy globally, supported by physical infrastructure, policy and regulations

Solar panels at the Benban Solar Park in Aswan, Egypt. Investments in renewable energy technology hit a record $1.3 trillion last year. AP
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Annual renewable power capacity must add an average of 1,000 gigawatts annually by 2030 to meet Paris Agreement goals, according to the International Renewable Energy Agency.

Although global renewable capacity in the power sector grew by a record 300 gigawatts last year, the gap between actual progress and the development required to achieve long-term climate goals has continued to grow, the Abu Dhabi-based agency said in its World Energy Transitions Outlook 2023 on Thursday.

“The speed at which the energy transition happens depends on how quickly we can phase up zero-carbon alternatives whilst ensuring energy security so that nobody is left behind,” said Dr Sultan Al Jaber, Minister of Industry and Advanced Technology, and Cop28 President-designate.

“We also need the political will to create the necessary conditions to rapidly scale up renewables,” said Dr Al Jaber, who is also managing director and group chief executive of Adnoc.

“This must create the frameworks for end-to-end delivery and provide the accessible and affordable finance necessary for project pipelines.

“To meet our 2030 targets, we need urgent action to fast-track expansions of grid infrastructure, to reduce permitting timelines and to reduce the cost of capital in emerging markets and developing economies.”

Irena has called for a higher level of renewables adoption globally, supported by physical infrastructure, policy and regulations.

Hastening the energy transition would require “rewriting” international co-operation and reassessing the roles of national and regional entities, international organisations and financial institutions, the agency said.

It also means ensuring that funds reach the world’s most vulnerable, it added.

“We face the harsh reality that we are not on track to deliver on the Paris Agreement,” said Irena director general Francesco La Camera.

“Our only option is to follow the most promising science-based pathway, one that puts renewable energy at the centre of the solution while leading countries to energy security, reduced energy costs and forward-looking industrial development.

“The energy transition must become a strategic tool to foster a more equitable and inclusive world. Cop28 and the Global Stocktake must not only confirm our deviation from a 1.5°C pathway, but also provide a strategic blueprint to steer us back on track.”

Global investments in energy transition technology must quadruple to $35 trillion by 2030 to stay in line with commitments made under the Paris climate agreement, the Irena said in a report in March.

Investments in renewable energy technology hit a record $1.3 trillion last year but that figure must rise to about $5 trillion annually to meet the key Paris accord target of limiting temperature increases to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels, the agency said.

A record 295 gigawatts of renewable energy capacity was added around the world in 2022, up by about 10 per cent from the year before, according to Irena.

Eighty-three per cent of all new capacity last year was produced by renewables, the agency said.

Updated: June 22, 2023, 12:26 PM