The renewable energy transition "practically pays for itself": new report says world can hit 30% by 2030

Clare Saxon Ghauri
21 January 2014

LONDON: The world's share of renewable energy can meet or exceed 30% by 2030 using technologies that are available today--although further effort is needed in certain sectors--according to a new report published today by IRENA (International Renewable Energy Agency).

IRENA's report, REmap 2030, states that the share of renewables in the global energy mix could be bumped up to 30% by 2030 at no extra cost. It even suggests that energy efficiency and improved energy access could advance the total to 36%.

The new study recommends that the deployment of renewable energy--excluding the traditional use of biomass–-must increase more than threefold, that there is a rethink on energy taxes and subsidies, and that fossil fuel subsidies should be reduced. 

Adnan Z. Amin, Director-General, IRENA, said in a statement: “There is a strong economic case for the renewable energy transition. When considering climate change mitigation, health impact and job creation, the transition practically pays for itself. More renewables in the energy system provide greater flexibility, increase energy independence, and makes the system more resilient.”

REmap 2030 uses analysis of energy supply and demand of 26 countries, which together account for 74% of estimated global total energy consumption in 2030. 

Under the authors' recommended actions for countries to take in order to accelerate renewable energy deployment, such as 'planning realistic but ambitious transition pathways' and 'creating an enabling business environment', the 'unleashing innovation' action highlights the following:

  • Ensure appropriate support mechanisms for emerging renewables depending on their development status and perspective.
  • Review high energy using applications and develop programmes to fill the technology gap.

Dolf Gielen, Director of IRENA’s Innovation and Technology Centre, said: “Many governments are underestimating the potential of renewables in their planning the for energy transition. To reach the goal of doubling the share of renewable energy by 2030, additional efforts are needed, particularly in the building, industry and transport sectors. We identified five areas of national action: Planning realistic but ambitious transition pathways; creating an enabling business environment; managing knowledge of technology options and their deployment; ensuring smooth integration of renewables into the existing infrastructure; and unleashing innovation.”

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Breakdown of global renewable energy use in REmap 2030, by technology and sector, from REmap 2030, IRENA.

The report takes its objective from the United Nations Secretary General’s Sustainable Energy for All initiative.

Read REmap 2030

Related news:

EU's new energy strategy must be ambitious on emission reductions and renewables

Wind leader Denmark hits 33% of its electricity

India and UAE join forces on renewable energy

By Clare Saxon

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