The two renewable sources that will provide more than a third of all global energy

Elizabeth Smith

By 2030, generation capacity from photovoltaic and wind sources, along with the advancement of battery technologies, is estimated to be in accord with International Energy Agency (IEA) goals to achieve emissions neutrality by mid-century.

According to research experts, by 2030 energy from photovoltaic and wind power plants could make up more than 33 percent of global energy supply, including all its forms. This represents a significant increase from the current level of about 12 percent.

Moreover, the trend of significantly lowering costs, observed over the past 10 years, is expected to continue. In fact, the two power generation technologies could further halve their cost by the end of this decade.

Toward decarbonization: examples from eight frontline countries

The Systems Change Lab, a research organization established jointly by the World Resources Institute and the Bezos Earth Fund, conducted an analysis that found that, eight nations, including Uruguay, Denmark, and Namibia, are demonstrating real commitment to achieving decarbonization goals.

These countries have achieved significant increases in their energy generation capacity through photovoltaic and wind sources.

Not only have they exceeded the growth rates required to keep global warming within 1.5°C, according to scenarios outlined by the International Energy Agency (IEA). But they have also provided tangible evidence that the decarbonization goal is achievable.

The CoP 28 target is within reach, but more investment is needed

The ambitious goal outlined at CoP 28 to triple the capacity of renewable energy sources by 2030 now appears to be achievable.

However, to materialize this vision, additional hurdles must be addressed and overcome. Key priorities include strategic investments in the electricity grid, simplification of permitting procedures, optimization of market structures, and expansion of energy storage capacity.

These essential steps will lead to a more sustainable and reliable future in global energy supply.

Benefits of renewable growth

The RMI analysis reveals a changing landscape in which the demand for electricity from fossil fuels is set to decline markedly. By 2030, a decrease of up to 30 percent from the 2022 peak is expected. This shift is driven by the increasing competitiveness of renewable electricity. Which is proving to be increasingly cheaper than hydrocarbons in terms of cost.

The robust growth of renewable energy sources is generating significant benefits on a large scale. In addition to contributing to the fight against price inflation, renewables are promoting security of energy supply and stimulating the creation of new jobs.

The rise of renewable electricity is thus shaping a more sustainable and cost-effective future for all.

Read also: Wind power is the main source of electricity in the UK for the first time

From Uruguay to Chile: concrete examples of a rapid energy transition

The efforts of eight nations – Uruguay, Denmark, Lithuania, Namibia, the Netherlands, Palestine, Jordan, and Chile – are laying out a clear road map for a successful and rapid energy transition. These countries have demonstrated that a transition to solar and wind energy can be successfully achieved in very different contexts, as highlighted by the Systems Change Lab.

Globally, wind and photovoltaic energy must increase from the current 12 percent to 41 percent of the energy mix by 2030. Which corresponds to an increase of 29 percentage points.

Denmark, Uruguay and Lithuania have already achieved such an increase in just eight years. Similarly, Namibia, the Netherlands, Palestine, Jordan and Chile have accelerated solar and wind power production with steady progress over a five-year period.

These countries represent a variety of economic situations, with GDP per capita ranging from $4,000 to $67,000 per year. However, they all have in common a willingness to push toward renewable energy. Thus supported by effective policies, reduced costs of renewables, and a commitment to energy security.

These tangible examples demonstrate that a transition to a sustainable energy future is possible in a variety of contexts.

A virtuous circle of cost reduction

The accelerated deployment of renewable energy sources is triggering an unprecedented transformation in energy markets, resulting in lower hydrocarbon prices. This trend, highlighted by researchers, creates a virtuous circle in which the costs of renewables are falling at a very rapid rate.

Over the past decade, the cost of renewable electricity has plummeted significantly. Thus overcoming one of the main barriers to its widespread adoption. BloombergNEF (BNEF) data show that the costs of photovoltaic and battery power have fallen by 80 percent between 2012 and 2022. Similarly, offshore wind costs have fallen by 73 percent and onshore wind costs by 57 percent.

According to RMI forecasts, the already cheapest form of electric generation in history will continue to improve further. By 2030, photovoltaics could cut its cost in half again, to $20/MWh from the current over $40/MWh. This trend underscores the inevitable progress toward an increasingly sustainable and cost-effective energy future.

Read also: Referendum on “carbon neutrality” passes in Switzerland

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