Energy Efficiency

Energy transition holds key to tackle global energy and climate crisis: IRENA

World Energy Transitions Outlook outlines priority actions till 2030 to keep 1.5°C alive; calls on governments to fast-track energy transition for more energy security, resilience and affordable energy for all  

By DTE Staff
Published: Tuesday 29 March 2022

Short-term interventions addressing the current energy crisis must be accompanied by a steadfast focus on mid- and long-term goals of the energy transition, the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) stated March 29, 2022.

High fossil fuel prices, energy security concerns and the urgency of climate change underscore the pressing need to move faster to a clean energy system, the intergovernmental agency for global energy transformation stated.

IRENA launched the World Energy Transitions Outlook 2022 at the Berlin Energy Transition Dialogue.

The Outlook sets out priority areas and actions based on available technologies that must be realised by 2030 to achieve net zero emissions by mid-century, a statement by IRENA said.

It also takes stock of progress across all energy uses to date, clearly showing that the current pace and scale of the renewables-based transition is inadequate.

“The energy transition is far from being on track and anything short of radical action in the coming years will diminish, even eliminate chances to meet our climate goals,” Francesco La Camera, director-general of IRENA, was quoted as saying.

“Today, governments are facing multiple challenges of energy security, economic recovery and the affordability of energy bills for households and businesses. Many answers lie in the accelerated transition.

“But it’s a political choice to put policies in place that comply with Paris Agreement and the Sustainable Development Agenda. Investing in new fossil fuel infrastructure will only lock-in uneconomic practices, perpetuate existing risks and increase the threats of climate change,” he added.

The Outlook sees investment needs of $5.7 trillion per year until 2030 including the imperative to redirect $0.7 trillion annually away from fossil fuels to avoid stranded assets.

But investing in the transition will bring concrete socioeconomic and welfare benefits, adding 85 million jobs worldwide in renewables and other transition-related technologies between today and 2030.

These job gains will largely surpass losses of 12 million jobs in fossil fuel industries. Overall, more countries will experience greater benefits on the energy transition path than under business as usual, according to the Outlook.

Renewables will have to scale-up massively across all sectors from 14 per cent of total energy today to around 40 per cent in 2030.

Global annual additions of renewable power will triple by 2030 as recommended by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. At the same time, coal power will have to resolutely be replaced, fossil fuel assets phased out and infrastructure upgraded.

The Outlook sees electrification and efficiency as key drivers of the energy transition, enabled by renewables, hydrogen, and sustainable biomass.

End-use decarbonisation will take centre-stage with many solutions available through electrification, green hydrogen, and the direct use of renewables.

Notably electromobility is seen as driver of energy transition progress, growing the sales of electric vehicles (EV) to a global EV fleet 20 times bigger than today.

However, a comprehensive set of cross-cutting, structural policies covering all technological avenues and just transition objectives is needed to achieve the necessary deployment levels by 2030.

Increasing ambition in the National Determined Contributions and national energy plans under the Glasgow Climate Pact must provide certainty and guide investment strategies in line with 1.5°C.

Particularly the world’s largest energy consumers and carbon emitters from the G20 and G7 must show leadership and implement ambitious plans and investments domestically and abroad.

They will need to support the global supply of 65 per cent renewables in power generation by 2030. Climate finance, knowledge transfer and assistance will have to increase for an inclusive and equal world. 

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