IRENA has laid out concrete technology options and outlined solutions and action areas to accelerate renewable energy growth in its latest report on the energy transition in 40 economies, representing 80% of global energy use.
REmap: Roadmap for A Renewable Energy Future, finds that doubling renewables in the global energy mix by 2030 is feasible and actually less expensive than not doing so. It can save up to $4.2 trillion annually by 2030 – 15 times more than the costs – all while achieving numerous economic, social and environmental goals.
Within the report, IRENA has set out recommendations for policy makers and stakeholders to scale up renewables in the next 14 years, saying that now policy makers and governments must take the required action to speed up the energy transition and finish the race in time.
“The age of renewable energy is here, but without concerted efforts, its potential will not be reached fast enough to meet international climate and development targets. For decision makers in the public and private sectors alike, this roadmap sends an alert – both on the opportunities at hand and on the costs of not taking them,” said IRENA Director-General Adnan Z. Amin.
As the first thing on its list of recommendations, IRENA cited linking R&D and innovation programmes to national macro objectives. The agency further advises investing in basic R&D, which has high risk and low interest from private sector.
The countries should focus their R&D funding on technologies that are not yet market-ready, such as ocean energy and advanced liquid biofuels, and in sectors where renewable energy penetration is especially low such as industry and freight transportation. As technologies become more mature, support should be shifted from supply side to demand side.
IRENA also pointed out that the price of new energy technologies is not only set out according to the cost of electricity generation but also by the cost of learning by doing. Progress of the solutions that are at early stages, such as advanced liquid biofuels and ocean technology, will speed up further if a large number of countries join in efforts to share the cost of learning by doing, the agency explained.