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, says the World Energy Transitions Outlook 2022.
The Outlook, released today, also sees high fossil fuel prices, energy security concerns and the urgency of climate change underscoring the pressing need to move faster to a clean energy system.
The 2022 report, launched by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), at the Berlin Energy Transition Dialogue, sets out priority areas and actions based on available technologies that must be realised by 2030, to achieve net zero emissions by mid-century.
It also takes stock of progress across all energy uses to date, clearly showing the inadequate pace and scale of the renewables-based transition.
The Outlook sees investment needs of $5.7 trillion/annum until 2030, including the imperative to redirect $0.7 trillion annually away from fossil fuels to avoid stranded assets.
It stated that investing in the transition would 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 would largely surpass losses of 12 million jobs in fossil fuel industries, it added.
Besides, the Outlook said more countries would experience greater benefits on the energy transition path than under business as usual.
Furthermore, renewables would have to scale-up massively across all sectors from 14% of total energy today to about 40% in 2030, during which global annual additions of renewable power is expected to triple as recommended by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).
At the same time, coal power would have to resolutely be replaced, fossil fuel assets phased out and infrastructure upgraded.
In particular, 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, electro-mobility is seen as a driver of energy transition progress, growing the sales of electric vehicles (EV) to a global EV fleet twenty times bigger than today.
Investing in the transition would bring concrete socioeconomic and welfare benefits, adding 85 million jobs worldwide in renewables and other transition-related technologies between today and 2030.
Commenting on the Outlook in a statement, the Director-General, IRENA, Francesco La Camera, said: “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.
“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 the 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 that “It is high time to act. Recent developments have clearly demonstrated that high fossil fuel prices can result in energy poverty and loss of industrial competitiveness. Eighty per cent of the global population lives in countries that are net-importers of fossil fuels.
“By contrast, renewables are available in all countries, offering a way out of import dependency and allowing countries to decouple economies from the costs of fossil fuels while driving economic growth and new jobs.”
But it’s a political choice to put policies in place that comply with the 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.
Meanwhile, the Outlook urges a comprehensive set of cross-cutting, structural policies covering all technological avenues and just transition objectives to achieve the necessary deployment levels by 2030.
Increasing ambition in the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs), and national energy plans under the Glasgow Climate Pact must provide certainty and guide investment strategies in line with 1.5°C, it said.
It observed that 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 would need to support the global supply of 65 per cent renewables in power generation by 2030. Climate finance, knowledge transfer and assistance would have to increase for an inclusive and equal world.”
It reiterated that enabling a rapid transition that complies with climate and development goals requires political commitment to support the highest level of international cooperation.
Achieving Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and universal access to modern energy by 2030 must remain a vital pillar of a just and inclusive energy transition.
It concluded that a holistic global policy framework can bring countries together to enable international flow of finance, capacity and technologies.