How to triple global renewable energy capacity by 2030, a significant step but with challenges
The G20 meeting’s most significant climate-related conclusion is a resolution to strive toward tripling the world’s renewable energy capacity by 2030. It has the potential to have a huge impact on lowering greenhouse gas emissions and is the only brand-new, unambiguous deliverable on climate action that the G20 countries have given themselves.
The International Energy Agency estimated earlier this year that by taking only one action, 7 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions might be avoided by 2030. It should come as no surprise that during the past few years, nations have constantly been exhorted to accept this as a goal and make serious efforts to achieve it.
In addition, despite some initial reluctance from traditional fossil fuel-producing nations like Russia and Saudi Arabia, tripling renewable capacity was also among the G20 grouping’s lowest-hanging climate fruit. Globally, the use of renewable energy is already expanding quickly, with annual capacity additions increasing by about 10% annually. And even if the rich countries undoubtedly provided the driving force, there is nothing inherently wrong with emerging nations using renewable energy. Growing the use of renewable energy is also the best way for nations like China and India to reduce their reliance on fossil fuels and support the global effort to combat climate change.
It is still a challenging task to triple capabilities in seven years. Just than 3,400 MW of renewable energy is currently installed worldwide. The biggest amount of capacity ever added was around 295 GW in 2022. The world would need to add roughly 1,000 GW of new capacity each year to treble the total capacity by the year 2030. Climate activists and civil society organizations have been advocating for this through organizations like the International Energy Agency (IEA) and the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA).
“Tripling renewable capacity by 2030 is an ambitious, yet achievable goal. Annual capacity additions have more than doubled from 2015 to 2022, rising by about 11 percent per year on average. Just a slightly higher annual growth rate would put renewables on track to meet the 2030 capacity target,” the IEA said in a recent assessment. It acknowledged that a higher annual growth rate would require a much stronger policy push from the governments.